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    Magna announces at CES 2022 that a new EV center will open in Michigan and their EtelligentForce Powertrain system that preserves strength and functionality of pickups and light commercial vehicles as an Advanced BEV solution will go into production starting 2025.

    Magna EtelligentForce PowerTrain system is an electric 4WD system for pickups and light duty commercial vehicles paired with Magna eBeam technology gives full capabilities without compromising payload or towing capacities and is targeted for full production from 2025.
    Pickup trucks and full-size SUVs are at their height of popularity and comes at a pivotal time where legacy OEM auto builders are looking for ways to eliminate emissions and yet maintain full capabilities. Created to benefit the 3/4-ton and 1-ton truck class.

    EtelligentForce features Magna's eDrive technology at the front and its eBeam electrified beam axle at the rear. This allows the following capabilities:
    Towing up to 14,500 pounds Total peak power of 430 kW (577 HP) with Peak Torque of 13,770 Nm (10,156 lb-ft) 250 kW (335 HP) / 10,000 Nm (7,376 lb-ft of Torque) rear eBeam 180 kW (242 HP) / 3,770 Nm (2,780 lb-ft of torque) front eDrive. Omits need for architectural changes Totally customizable allowing to prioritize key performance attributes.
    Magna's eBeam replaces traditional beam axles, accommodating existing suspension and brake systems, and avoiding the need for expensive redesign of existing truck platforms. This could if Magna so chooses to be an excellent way to convert existing ICE full size trucks and SUVs to electric.
    Fewer moving parts in comparison to traditional ICE powertrain, the EtelligentForce powertrain requires less maintenance - a direct benefit to truck / SUV owners over the life of the vehicle.
    Magna is setting up a dedicated EV center at its U.S. headquarters in Troy, Michigan. This team will be dedicated to preparing and launching the EtelligentForce Solution in the North American EV Market from 2025 forward in addition to other EV products.
    Magna has the EtelligentForce powertrain solution joining their two existing powertrain solutions the EtelligentEco focused on PHEV production and the EtelligentReach Bev Powertrain solution.
    Magna had a booth at CES 2022, and allows a in depth virtual attendance of their booth here: Magna at CES 2022 | Magna International

    This technology has already been put into production as Magna provides the EtelligentReach as the RWD/AWD powertrain for the Jaguar I-Pace built by Magna's Austria division for Jaguar. 
    Magna is also to build the Fisker Ocean BEV for Fisker Auto Group using their BEV tech for the Crossover.

    News Release - Magna’s EtelligentForce Simplifies Electrification of Truck Segment
    Magna at CES 2022 | Magna International
    Product Storyboards EtelligentForce (magna.com)
    EtelligentForce (magna.com)
    EtelligentEco (magna.com)
    EtelligentReach (magna.com)
    Fisker Ocean | Fisker Inc.


    At the CES 2022 tradeshow, SONY introduced the world to their vision of mobility, the VISION_S 01 and VISION_S 02 BEVs.

    ONY has introduced the world to their vision of battery electric vehicles and with it a new division being the "Sony Mobility Inc." which will explore the entry into the EV market.
    The VISION_S 01 a 4-door sedan and the VISION_S 02 SUV with up to 7 passenger seating has been designed to accommodate a variety of lifestyles in a society that values an increasing diversified way of life. These AWD BEVs look to expand on the quality of lifestyle that humans live.

    Sony Mobility Inc. will use the best of AI and robotics technologies to deliver a harmonious evolution of mobility that allows humans and robots to achieve the safest and most enjoyable life filled with emotion and contribution to society according to the Sony Press release.
    These new BEVs start off with Safety as the key to mobility. Sony aims to provide greater safety and comfort to all through a series of sensor and communication technologies that will deliver a world's best Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems on public roads. This package of sensors gives a 360-degree real time support system by recognizing and analyzing the surrounding environment using CMOS image sensors and LiDAR sensors for a three-dimensional space assessment for the driver.
    Safety is joined by a 5G communication system that allows the auto to be connected to the cloud allowing a superior driver experience with a complete customizable setup for each driver as the ultimate adaptability.
    Families will love the Entertainment aspect as the VISION_S BEVs will have in-vehicle entertainment, gamming capabilities that can connect to your PlayStation at home or streaming play via the cloud. This comes with a 360 Reality Audio immersive sound system
    One can expand their interest by checking out the VISION_S web site here: Sony Group Portal - VISION-S
    The VISION_S sedan and SUV have been tested on Japan and Germany Roads for Level 2+ autonomous driving as well as compatibility with charging and durability of the auto in a wide range of extreme weather from heat to cold, dry to wet conditions. The auto's will come initially in 4 colors, Placid White, Blaze Red, Tidal Silver and Core Black.

    For those that wonder if SONY is serious about entering the BEV business, they have mules already testing in Frankfurt to ensure their vehicles can hang with the best.
    Specifications for the VISION_S 02 SUV are as follows:
    Length 192.7in Height 65.0in Width 76.0in Wheelbase 119.3in Ground Clearance 6.2 inch Tire size 255 / 50R20 [Front] 275 / 45R20 [Rear] Passengers 4 / 7 Weight 5,467lbs Power 200kW x 2 [ Front / Rear ] Vmax More than 112mph Axle system Double wishbone front & rear suspension Air spring system Drive All-Wheel Drive You can view more images, videos and details on the SUV here: Sony Group Portal - VISION-S | VEHICLE
    The VISION_S 01 Sedan has the following Specifications:
    Length 192.7in Height 57.1in Width 74.8in Wheelbase 119.3in Ground Clearance 4.7in - 5.3in Tire size 245 / 40R21 [Front] 275 / 35R21 [Rear] Passengers 4 Weight 5,180lbs Power 200kW x 2 [Front / Rear] Acceleration 4.8s 0-62mph Vmax 149mph Axle system Double wishbone front & rear suspension Air spring system Drive All-Wheel Drive The platform is a SONY designed skateboard EV platform that allows far superior interior room thanks to the design that includes an ultra thin battery pack.

    This platform is designed from concept to support sedans, SUVs and MPVs using a top-class automobile safety design that uses active and passive safety features as well as the Software designed E/E Architecture 5G network connectivity system. More details for the nerds out there can be read here: Sony Group Portal - VISION-S | PLATFORM
    Sony Group Portal - VISION-S
    Sony Group Portal - VISION-S Exhibiting at CES 2022, Entering a New Phase


    Mary Barra delivered today the Keynote speech for the 2022 CES show as a virtual address and in it we get to see the all new 2024 Chevrolet Electric Silverado Pickup and the 2024 Electric Chevrolet Equinox.

    GM CEO and Keynote presenter Mary Barra outlined the wave of change that is coming as society moves towards mass adoption of electric vehicles and how GM has transitioned from a basic automaker to a platform innovator, providing key Electric technology across a wide platform of uses more than just automobiles.
    Per GMs global chief marketing officer, Deborah Wahl, and I quote:
    “Technology driven by purpose will change the world,” “GM is redefining how people and goods are moved. Our commitment to a vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion has positioned us to lead. As we implement our growth strategy, we have an opportunity and, frankly, an obligation to create a better future for generations to come. That’s the Ultium Effect.”
    One can check out GMs Exhibit Zero here: Countdown Until GM Exhibit Zero: A Virtual Experience

    Marry discussed how the "Ultium Effect" has allowed GM to take from idea to production in what has been considered some of the fastest changes in the auto industry. This Ultium Effect underpins the GMC Hummer EV Truck and Brightdrop EV600 both in delivery to customers now as production ramps up.

    This Ultium platform will also underpin the soon to be released Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado and Equinox EVs.

    Mary also shared the Conceptual Future of Cadillac that covers from the Innerspace, a two-passenger autonomous auto, to their Social Space a take on autonomous luxury van and the Personal Space, a single passenger hover craft that gets you above the ground congestion. Full inside and outside images can be viewed here for all of the Cadillac Concept Portfolio: Cadillac Pressroom - United States - Photos

    Yet while the Keynote touched on many things from SuperCruise to GMs global plans for auto's around the world was a focus on Chevrolet BEV portfolio for everyone. By 2025 the estimate is to have the following:
    Silverado EV Equinox EV Blazer EV These are in addition to the Bolt EV and EUV The Silverado EV is a reimagined full-size pickup developed on the Ultium Platform in a First edition launch version RST featuring the following:
    400-mile range battery pack 350kW fast charging standard 664 hp / 780 lb-ft of torque for the RST model with a 0 to 60 of 4.5 seconds 10,000 pounds maximum trailering, 1,300 lbs of payload with Tow/Haul mode with integrated trailering brake control and hitch guidance 10.2 kW of offboard power Four-wheel steering Fixed glass roof Multi-Flex Midgate Load floor of up to 10ft 10 inches when combined using the Multi-Flex Midgate 17-inch Diagonal LCD freeform infotainment screen Over air updates and latest software features as they are released from GM Trailering capable SuperCruise Independent front and rear suspension with automatic adaptive air suspension allowing the vehicle to be raised or lowered up to 2 inches.
    One of the cool parts that many Cheverolet customers loved about the legacy Avalanche truck is the return of a mid-gate that has been updated to match the needs of the 21st century.

    This along with a more enhanced flexible rear seat.

    Chevrolet is focusing on building best in class interior into their BEVs.

    Over all this is a truck designed from the ground up to lead the BEV revolution. More images can be viewed at the following media web site: Chevrolet Pressroom - United States - Images

    One of the most wondered thoughts was how Chevrolet would respond to the huge FRUNK that Ford introduced with their F150 Lighting and to that GMs answer is as follows:

    While no sizing has been released yet, the press release did say this about the frunk: The eTrunk – a lockable, weatherproof compartment in the front of the vehicle – provides enough space to fit a large hard side suitcase and a multitude of accessory options for both fleet and retail customers to load gear based on the unique needs of the customer.
    Pricing is another area that many have wondered about and while the First Edition RST Silverado EV truck will debut loaded at an MSRP of $105,000, Chevrolet will offer a complete portfolio of trucks with the Base WT or Work Truck starting at $39,900 + DFC or destination Freight Charge of $1,695. Customers will then find a complete portfolio of Trail Boss, Z71, LT, LTE and more with starting price points of $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, $80,000 and $90,000 allowing customers to choose the truck to meet their capability and pricing needs.
    Videos released while animations show the planned options for the WT truck.
    SilveradoEV-WT-Exterior-24.mp4  Full images and additional options for the WT truck can be viewed here: Chevrolet Pressroom - United States - Images
    Many here on Cheers and Gears has stated that these high-priced trucks ignore the folks that cannot afford high 5 to 6 figure autos and GM answer is the Equinox EV. Arriving Fall 2023 with a starting MSRP of $30,000, the Equinox will be available from the start in both a fleet and retail version that include the LT and RS trims based on the Ultium Platform providing an affordable EV option to the global customer.
    More details will come out closer to launch.

    GM at CES 2022: Experience The Ultium Effect 
    Cadillac Introduces InnerSpace Autonomous Concept at CES 2022
    The Pickup Reimagined: Introducing the 2024 All-Electric Chevrolet Silverado
    Chevrolet Previews Equinox EV

    Drew Dowdell

    Adding to Cadillac's EV future....

    Over the course of CES 2021, Cadillac dropped a few bombs upon the critics and car enthusiasts with their PAV Pod and eVTOL. However, they also unveiled their “EV Flagship” known as the Celestiq. Following the recent reveal of what would be Cadillac’s first electric vehicle, the Lyriq, in August of 2020, the Celestiq will be a hatchback while the Lyriq is an SUV.
    The Celestiq will be a four-seat hatchback with standard all-wheel drive. However, it will come with up and coming technology in its four-wheel steering, allowing it to make sharper and more precise turns. The vehicle will also come with transparent glass roof panels that each passenger can control to different levels of transparency, as well as a large LED display that stretches across the entire dashboard and personal screens for the rear passengers.

    The Celestiq will be powered by a 100-kWh battery pack allowing it to have a 300+ mile range but will most likely come with a six-figure price tag. However, Cadillac asserts that it will be bespoke and hand-built in the Detroit area and be completely customized for individual customers. So if you are looking for a 4-seat luxury hatchback EV, start saving up for the 2025 release. 

    Drew Dowdell

    Will extreme concepts show the way of the future at Cadillac?

    The 2021 Consumer Electronics Show was supposed to be held in Las Vegas from January 6th to January 9th. However, because of the pandemic affecting normalcy around the world, it was moved to solely online for the first time since its inception. Companies still came to show off and show off they did. Cadillac, in particular, unveiled two new products from its HALO portfolio: the PAV Pod (personal autonomous vehicle), or more commonly referred to as the “Toaster-Shaped Party Bus”, and the eVTOL aircraft (electric vertical take-off and landing), or more simply a personal flying vehicle.
    This party bus is seemingly a driverless limo for the more elegant nights with friends and/or family. The vehicle comes fully equipped with technology to make the drive as enjoyable as possible for the guests by using biometric sensors in each seat. These sensors read vital signs of the passengers, which is encroaching on Big Brother territory and adjusts a variety of settings such as heat, lighting, and humidity. However, if you wanted a different setting, the pod allows for voice control and hand gestures to change the experience, as well as snap some selfies along the way to the club.
    As Michael Simcoe, the VP of Global Design at GM, says, the PAV is a “social space for a group of friends or family to spend time together on their way to a destination.” This is quickly obvious by looking at the PAV as it comes without any windows. If one doesn’t feel like chatting, however, it sports a full-length see-through roof so that the sky and skyline can be seen instead. And in case this pod hasn’t screamed luxury at you already, it also comes with a virtual fireplace, in case you want to have that cozy feeling of home within a limo.
    The eVTOL is a four-rotor aircraft that is more similar to a personal aircraft, rather than a flying car. This is based on the images provided by GM showing an aircraft with room for only one passenger. However, this aircraft is no slouch with its 90-kWh battery allowing it to travel up to speeds of 56 mph. And with the way transportation technology is going, it will most likely be an autonomous aircraft, allowing you to get around the city quickly and easily.

    Cadillac is not the first company to dabble in the eVTOL industry as Airbus, and Uber, as well as others, have presented ideas of aerial transportation. As both the Vahana project from Airbus and the Elevate project from Uber have closed or been sold to outside companies, Cadillac is now the new entry into the industry, sparking new debate as to whether this might become a reality with a new competitor in the mix. 
    These concepts might become a reality in the future, or they might just be another idea to put on the shelf. Only the future will tell.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...and bring a new badge with them...

    Jeep will be bringing a trio of plug-in hybrid variants with them to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, and along with them, a new badge.  The Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade will debut in North America wearing a new 4xe badge that will denote their plug-in status.  The SUV's are scheduled for their official debut in New York and Geneva later this year. 
    Jeep intends to have some form of electrified driving available in its entire lineup by 2022, but it could be in the form of a mild-hybrid eTorque system.  At the moment, Jeep says that all electrified vehicles will carry the new 4xe but it is unclear if that really includes the eTorque models or not.
    We've previously seen Compass and Renegade Plug-In hybrids at the Geneva Auto Show in 2019.  In those, the engine is a 1.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 177 hp and 200 lb.-ft of torque on its own. On the Renegade, there are power variants that add additional electric motivation to bring total output to either 190 hp or 240 hp.  The only choice on the Compass is the 240 hp version.  The PHEVs have eAWD, where the rear wheels are powered electrically only and there is no prop shaft from the gasoline engine.  FCA claims the PHEVs can travel up to 31 miles in electric only mode and reach a top speed of 81 mph before the gasoline engine kicks in to help.
    We will have more details on the Renegade, Compass, and Wrangler Plug-In hybrids coming soon.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Preview of the Next Generation Panda...

    Fiat is bringing the Concept Centoventi to the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.  The concept previews the next generation Panda and the name means 120 in Italian in honor of the brand's 120 year history.  The Panda is the mini-car platform used by the Fiat 500 in the U.S. 
    The Concept Centoventi is designed to be a "blank canvas" ready to be painted to suit owner's needs and desires at any time, without being stuck with the color chosen at purchase. It is produced in only one color and then the customer "paints" the vehicle using Fiat's 4U program that allows for four roof options, four bumper cover options, four wheel cover options, and four exterior wrappings.  Various interior options like storage compartments, seats, and child-restraint systems are interchangeable and installed in a plug-and-play fashion by the customer. 
    The powertrain is electrified and can be equipped with different batteries to vary the range from 60 miles to 300 miles. 
    The Concept Centoventi has a small screen in the windshield facing outward to display messages while a larger rear tailgate display can also display messages or while in motion, just the Fiat logo. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...setting up for an electrified future...

    Fiat Chrysler is bringing a slew of concepts to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that all feature some sort of electrification.
    The centerpiece of their display will be the 2020 Airflow Vision concept.  While not specifically branded as a Chrysler, the Airflow Vision does take the name of a full-size Chrysler model produced from 1934 - 1937.  FCA calls it a "sculptural design concept" that envisions the next generation of premium transportation.  The interior user experience is designed to be captivating. FCA put a lot of work into showing a sophisticated appearance that can be personalized and customized to individual needs. 
    The cabin offers multiple interfaces, one behind the steering wheel, two on the center console, one for the front passenger, and two more for the rear passengers. Information can be shared between the screens by swiping.  The interior is said to be the same size as the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in and has a flat load floor. In spite of all that room, it only has 4 seats set up in a lounge chair fashion to maximize legroom, shoulder room, and storage space for each passenger. Premium suedes and leathers, along with ambient lighting make the ride a first-class experience. 
    The exterior of the Airflow Vision has an aggressive stance with bodywork reaching almost to the ground. The wheels hint at the use of electric motors, but no powertrain information was provided.

    William Maley

    Could this be the next-step after Head-Up Display systems?

    What's the next step after heads-up display (HUD)? If you ask Hyundai, it may be holographic augmented reality (AR) display on the windshield.
    This week at the Consumer Electronics Show, Hyundai and Swiss startup WayRay showed off a Genesis G80 equipped with a holographic AR navigation system. Unlike current HUD systems that reflects the image onto the windshield via an LCD screen mounted on the dash, the system being shown at CES displays the image directly through the windshield. WayRay's current setup displays navigation, along with driver-assistance alerts like lane departure and forward collision warning.
    "The driver can enjoy vivid and precise holographic images without wearing a headset. The direction of movement is kept precise through the vehicle speed in real-time, and projecting navigational alerts through the windshield onto the road allows drivers to navigate safely while looking ahead undistracted," Hyundai said in a statement.
    Hyundai didn't say if something like this could appear in future models, but WayRay has gotten investments from a number of automakers to continue with the development of this system.
    Source: Hyundai

    Hyundai Motor Group and WayRay Unveil Next-Generation Visual Technology at CES 2019
    The Next-generation Visual Technology provides drivers with navigational and ADAS features to enhance their in-car experiences HMG aims to secure leadership in the holographic AR display industry that is expecting average annual growth of 30% The strategic partnership is helping HMG to lead the way in various tech-enhanced automotive developments and achieve its vision for future mobility Las Vegas, Jan. 08, 2019 — Hyundai Motor Group, in collaboration with Swiss deep-tech startup company WayRay AG, has unveiled the world’s first Holographic Augmented Reality (AR) Navigation System equipped in the Genesis G80 at CES 2019. The technology will be on display at the WayRay booth 3110, Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall, throughout CES 2019. 
    Hyundai CRADLE, the hub for Hyundai’s open innovation business, decided to strategically invest in WayRay last September in recognition of its leadership in holographic AR technology and its future growth potential. Prior to this initial investment, Hyundai Motor Group had been conducting its own preliminary research on applying holographic technology to vehicles in early 2017 and later expanded its commitment to producing quality parts with WayRay. The two parties have continued to develop holographic AR navigation technology in mass-produced vehicles, with long-term road tests in South Korea to minimize system errors. 
    “This demo car is the first step of the proof of concent (PoC), but is an important step towards technology driven innovation,” said Yunseong Hwang, Director of Open Innovation Business Group from Hyundai Motor Group. “Future mobility windshields will be more than just a piece of glass. AR holographic powered glass will serve as a platform to provide new services and open up new in-vehicle experiences.”
    The biggest advantage of a holographic AR navigation system built into the vehicle is that the stereoscopic image is displayed on the actual road and appropriately adjusted in accordance with the specific viewing angle of the driver, thereby delivering accurate driving guidance. The driver can enjoy vivid and precise holographic images without wearing a headset. The direction of movement is kept precise through the vehicle speed in real-time, and projecting navigational alerts throughthe windshield onto the road allows drivers to navigate safely while looking ahead undistracted. 
    Additionally, while conventional head-up display (HUD) units project a reflected image indirectly through an LCD screen mounted on the dashboard, the holographic AR display projects an image through the windshield. 
    WayRay’s display shows not only navigational features — such as lane guidance, destination points, and current speed — in augmented reality, but also incorporates ADAS features like lane departure warnings and forward collision warnings. The virtual image of 1,310mm x 3,152mm is projected at a distance of 15m from the driver’s eyes; Hyundai Motor Group has refurbished its HUD to fit WayRay’s system and offer the optimized solution to drivers. 
    The two parties will continue to work closely together to expand holographic AR technology to display people, objects, buses, bicycle lanes, and crosswalks, and additionally, further develop advanced ADAS functions such as a rear side warning system and the Highway Driving Assist (HDA) system.  
    In addition, they expect the incorporation of V2X (Vehicle to Everything) technology and connectivity features will allow data such as traffic signals, surrounding vehicle information, as well as road or weather conditions, to be provided in real time. 
    “As the automotive market is undergoing a profound AR technology-driven transformation, major automakers are quickly adopting AR solutions to find another competitive edge,” said Vitaly Ponomarev, CEO of WayRay. “I believe the strong partnership with Hyundai will help us scale up our deep-tech innovation to build customer-centric solutions at a meaningful scale and make driving more comfortable and safe for everyone.” 
    Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors are concentrating their research and development resources on acquiring AR navigation and other related technologies to improve upon and accelerate the next generation of displays and connected vehicles. Not only will this disruptive technology help Hyundai Motor Group achieve its vision of a more integrated and seamless blending of automotive technologies, but also assist in developing other closely related areas of interest such as wearable robots, smart-buildings, smart-cities and a plethora of other exciting possibilities.

    William Maley

    Known as the e+ or Leaf Plus

    Nissan had originally planned on debuting their long-range variant of the Leaf EV back at the LA Auto Show. But with the arrest of chairman Carlos Ghosn, plans were scrapped and we were left wondering when the long-range Leaf would debut.
    Last night at the Consumer Electronics Show, Nissan unveiled the long-range variant known as the Leaf Plus - other parts of the world will know the model as the Leaf e+. The plus signifies a larger battery pack - 62 kWh. This boosts range from 150 to 226 miles. Along with the bigger battery, Nissan has bumped up the output of the electric motor from 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque to 215 and 250 respectively. 
    For recharging, Nissan developed a faster 70 kW charging system that will allow the Leaf e+ have quick charge times similar to the standard Leaf. A 60 percent recharge (about 90 miles) takes about 30 minutes with the standard Leaf. That could mean a 30 minute quick charge in the Leaf Plus could net you about 135 miles. No mention of how long it takes for a charge on 120 or 240V chargers.
    No word on pricing, but we're expecting a sizeable bump when compared to the standard Leaf. The Plus version arrives at dealers this spring in U.S.
    Gallery: 2019 Nissan Leaf e+/Leaf Plus
    Source: Nissan
    Nissan LEAF e+ joins world’s best-selling electric vehicle family
    New powertrain option offers expanded range and power LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Nissan today unveiled the Nissan LEAF e+, further broadening the appeal of the world's best-selling electric car*1 by offering a new powertrain with additional power and range.
    The "e+" refers to the increased energy density of the model's 62 kWh battery pack and the higher output of its powertrain. The new powertrain adds to the car's range by approximately 40 percent, with EPA-estimated range of up to 226 miles, ensuring that there's a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers.
    "The new Nissan LEAF e+ offers all of the style, convenience and electric vehicle benefits that have helped make LEAF the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, plus even more driving excitement, range, power and choice," said Denis Le Vot, senior vice president and chairman, Nissan North America. "Customers now have a selection of powertrains and models to best suit their driving needs."
    The LEAF e+ will be sold under the LEAF PLUS Series in the US and Canada, with each trim level receiving its own designation of S PLUS, SV PLUS and SL PLUS. Globally, the vehicle will be referred to as the Nissan LEAF e+. 
    More than 380,000 Nissan LEAF vehicles have been sold globally since the 100 percent electric model first went on sale in 2010, with over 128,000 sold in the US. Equipped with advanced technologies including ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous driving system and e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving, the LEAF embodies Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company's vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society.
    "Nissan Intelligent Mobility is at the core of everything we do and the new Nissan LEAF e+ takes this vision even further," Le Vot continued. "EV's will play a significant part in our product lineup as we move forward and will lead the way to providing an efficient and sustainable future for the world."
    Having pioneered mass-market electric cars with the LEAF, Nissan is continuing to promote alternative vehicle transportation. The LEAF family of cars play a vital role in Nissan's efforts to integrate electric vehicles and energy systems into customer's lives – creating an "EV ecosystem." Among these efforts is Nissan Energy, the company's initiative for its electric vehicles to easily connect with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses, or feed energy back to power grids, as well as new efforts to reuse batteries.*2
    The Nissan LEAF PLUS Series is scheduled to join the LEAF at Nissan dealerships in Japan in January 2019. U.S. sales are expected to begin in spring 2019 and European sales to commence in mid-2019.
    Nissan Intelligent Mobility
    The Nissan LEAF e+ represents a step forward in each of the three key areas of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision: Intelligent Power, Intelligent Driving and Intelligent Integration.
    Nissan Intelligent Power: increased range and performance
    The Nissan LEAF e+ features a new version of the LEAF's revolutionary electric powertrain, delivering excellent energy efficiency and robust torque and power output. While the current LEAF meets the needs of many customers with its driving range of EPA-estimated 150 miles, the LEAF e+ offers an EPA-estimated range of up to 226 miles, allowing customers the ability to do more between charges.*3
    The high-capacity battery and more powerful, 160 kW motor in the LEAF e+ combine to produce 45 percent more power and 250 lb-ft (340 Nm) of torque, enabling faster acceleration when driving at high speeds. Accelerating from 50 mph (80 kph) to 75 mph (120 kph) is nearly 13 percent quicker. This allows the LEAF e+ to confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly, and merge easily with fast-moving traffic. The top speed has increased by approximately 10 percent for comfortable cruising.
    Thanks to the available new 70 kW (100 kW peak) Quick Charging system, the 2019 Nissan LEAF e+ can charge more efficiently than ever.*3 Based on early testing, Nissan LEAF e+ owners can expect similar charging times when hooked up to a 100 kW charger as current LEAF owners do with a 50 kW charger, despite a 55 percent larger battery storage capacity.
    Even with a 25 percent increase in energy density and the increase in energy storage capacity, the LEAF e+ battery pack is almost the same size and configuration as the pack in the Nissan LEAF. Other than a 5-millimeter increase in overall height (16-inch wheels), the car's exterior and interior dimensions are unchanged.
    Because ownership satisfaction and peace of mind are pivotal for all Nissan LEAF owners, the battery limited warranty of 8 years/160,000 km (whichever occurs first) is standard for all versions.
    Nissan Intelligent Driving: innovative ProPILOT Assist features and smooth e-Pedal operation
    Playing a leading role in Nissan Intelligent Driving is ProPILOT Assist, an in-lane semi-autonomous driving technology that can automatically adjust the distance to the vehicle ahead, using a speed preset by the driver (between about 18 mph and 62 mph). ProPILOT Assist can also help the driver steer and keep the vehicle centered in its lane. If the car in front stops, ProPILOT Assist can automatically apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a full halt if necessary. After coming to a full stop, the vehicle can remain in place even if the driver's foot is off the brake. If traffic restarts, the car will resume driving when the driver touches the steering wheel-mounted ProPILOT Assist switch again or lightly presses the accelerator to activate the system. All these functions can reduce stress when driving on the highway in both heavy and fast-moving traffic.
    Further enhancing the LEAF's driving experience is e-Pedal, which allows the driver to start, accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator pedal.*4 To match the LEAF e+'s additional power and increased mass, Nissan has reprogrammed the e-Pedal software for smoother operation and enhanced pedal feedback, especially for operation in reverse, and for smoother and more rapid deceleration, making it easier to stop the car using e-Pedal, even when backing up.
    In addition to ProPILOT Assist and e-Pedal, every LEAF is equipped with advanced safety technologies including Intelligent Lane Intervention, Lane Departure Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Around View Monitor with moving object detection.
    Nissan Intelligent Integration: updated interface, larger display and convenient updates
    The new Nissan LEAF links drivers, vehicles and communities through its convenient graphic-based Human Machine Interface. It allows the owner to use the NissanConnect smartphone app to perform tasks such as monitoring the vehicle's state of charge, scheduling charging to benefit from optimal energy tariffs, finding the nearest charging station, and heating or cooling the car before getting in.
    New for the LEAF e+ (on North American and EU models) is a larger, thin-film transistor, full-color 8-inch display, with an updated navigation system that can be linked to a compatible smartphone. The display features smartphone-like operation including swiping, scrolling and tapping. Applications, maps and firmware are updated over the air with the simple touch of a button, instead of having to manually update by USB or at a Nissan dealership.*5
    Other new features include Door-to-Door Navigation, which syncs the vehicle's navigation system with your compatible smartphone for seamless driving and walking directions. The Connections feature allows any of the car's passengers to quickly and easily connect to a device within the vehicle.*6
    Integration goes beyond what's in the vehicle and now includes Nissan Energy, the company's existing and future initiatives for Vehicle-to-Grid, Vehicle-to-Building and Vehicle-to-Home connections, generating solar electricity, as well as reusing batteries. With Nissan Energy, LEAF vehicles are part of a larger electric vehicle ecosystem.*2
    Sleek, modern design
    One of the most eye-catching exterior elements of the new Nissan LEAF is the car's sleek, streamlined silhouette, which maximizes aerodynamic efficiency. The car's bold fascia features Nissan's signature V-Motion grille with blue 3D mesh. The car's streamlined profile gives it a sporty look, while the rear features a distinctive tail light design.
    The LEAF e+ carries over most of the LEAF's design. Subtle clues to its e+ designation include a revised front fascia with blue highlights and an "e+" logo plate on the underside of the charge port lid.
    There will also be a rear trim level badge for U.S. and Canada which will be designated as S PLUS, SV PLUS and SL PLUS.
    Like the standard model, the LEAF e+ boasts a spacious, highly functional interior with a quality, high-tech feel. The combination of premium materials throughout the cabin befits a luxury vehicle. Vibrant blue contrast stitching for the steering wheel, seats and instrument panel accentuate the car as a Nissan electric vehicle.
    North America pricing will be announced closer to on-sale date.

    Drew Dowdell

    The all-new 2020 CLA grows slightly

    Previous Page Next Page At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Mercedes-Benz pulled the wraps off the 2020 CLA.  Growing in size slightly, about 2 inches in length and width, the CLA moves to the new A-Class platform shown last year in Bejing.  The wider body allows for a wider track to improve handling.  A larger stabilizer bar and optional active adaptive damping systems further work to improve handling and comfort.
    MBUX is the latest in automotive interface systems from Mercedes and comes standard on the CLA. The system is activated by saying "Hey Mercedes" and can respond to increasingly complex queries from the driver.
    While official specs weren't announced, we expect the CLA 250 will be equipped like the 2019 A-Class with a 4-cylinder engine producing 188hp and 221 lb-ft of torque paired with a 7G-DCT transmission.  4Matic all-wheel drive will be available. 
    The current CLA starts at $33,100 before destination charge, we expect a slight increase in price when the 2020 CLA goes on sale in late 2019.  
    The new Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupe is not only the most emotional vehicle in its class, it is also highly intelligent: from MBUX Interior Assistant, which recognizes operational demands from gestures and equips the interior with intelligence, through Augmented Reality for Navigation and understanding indirect voice commands, the new CLA offers an array of clever solutions. There are also ingenious details when it comes to the aerodynamics and new driver assistance systems. The design underlines the coupe character with its stretched form and design elements such as the hood with power domes or the rear license plate which has been moved down. As such it does justice to its predecessor's status as a design icon. The new Mercedes-Benz CLA will celebrate its World Premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2019 and will go on sale in the U.S. by late 2019.
    With MBUX, Mercedes-Benz has been revolutionizing how to operate a car and communicate with it since the premiere of the new A-Class. "Now we go to the next level with an intelligent interior assistance system for the compact class. By recognizing gestures it facilitates natural operation," says Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "This is not the only new feature by which the CLA offers a great deal of automotive intelligence."
    "With the first CLA we created a totally new segment with a four-door coupe and celebrated a huge success by selling some 750,000 CLA and CLA Shooting Brakes," adds Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. "The new edition of the CLA has been developed further in an intelligent way and is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor. Coupled with new operating systems, it sets new benchmarks for the entire class."
    The new generation of compacts has made a key contribution to the rejuvenation and image change of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The CLA is important for winning and retaining new customers in particular. The CLA Coupe was launched in the U.S. in 2013, making it the first compact Mercedes-Benz available in the U.S. market. At peak times, more than two thirds of CLA buyers in the U.S. came from competitors. On average, CLA customers in the USA are around ten years younger than the typical Mercedes-Benz customer. In Europe, too, CLA customers are among the youngest in the Mercedes portfolio. In 2017, one in two customers in Europe previously drove a competitor's vehicle. Over 75 percent of European customers who previously drove a CLA as a coupe or Shooting Brake chose a Mercedes-Benz again for their next vehicle. In total, some 750,000 units of the first-generation CLA Coupe and CLA Shooting Brake contributed considerably to the compact car's success.
    Design: pure emotion
    "As a four-door coupe, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of 'sensual purity.' It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched hood, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear end with a strong distinctive 'Coke-bottle shoulder,'" says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. "In short - the CLA Coupe has the potential to become a modern design icon."
    The combination of the long, stretched entry line above the windows and frameless doors give the CLA Coupe its unmistakable sporty and elegant character. Forming the front end is the striking front section which is raked forward like a shark nose with a long, stretched hood featuring power domes.
    Flat headlamps together with the low slung hood and the diamond-block grille with a central star create the vehicle's sporty face. The two-piece, narrow taillamps and the number plate housed in the bumper make the rear of the CLA look especially wide.
    With the greenhouse moved back, the sporty GT rear achieves a balance between elegance and sportiness. Featuring pared-down lines, the precisely modelled side profile provides an interesting interplay of light and shade. Dispensing with the upper shaped edge of the side wall permits extremely muscular and athletic shoulder shaping, stretching from the front wheel arch through to the sculptured rear. Flush with the outer edge of the body, the wheels with their flared wheel arches and wide track give the vehicle a sporty presence.
    In the interior, all elements are arranged according to the overarching design themes of 'high tech' and 'youthful avant-garde' – be that the steering wheel, the door handle operating module, the center console or the seats. As in the A-Class, the unique interior architecture is shaped in particular by the modern design of the dashboard; the designers completely dispensed with a cowl above the cockpit. As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. The widescreen display is completely free-standing. The lower section is visually separated from the main body of the instrument cluster by a "trench," and it appears to float in front of the instrument cluster. The ambient lighting enhances this effect. The air vents in a sporty turbine-look are another highlight.
    The concept for its dimensions: longer, wider and more grown-up
    Exterior dimensions
    184.6 in (4,688 mm)
    182.7 in (4,640 mm)
    +1.9 in (48 mm)
    72.0 in (1,830 mm)
    70.0 (1,777 mm)
    +2.0 in (53 mm)
    Width incl. exterior mirrors
    78.7 in (1,999 mm)
    80.0 (2,032 mm)
    -1.3 in (33 mm)
    56.7 in (1,439 mm)
    56.7 (1,441 mm)
    (-2 mm)
    107.4 in (2,729 mm)
    106.3 (2,699 mm)
    +1.1 in (30 mm)
    Front track
    63.5 in (1,612 mm)
    61.0 (1,549 mm)
    +2.5 in (63 mm)
    Rear track
    63.1 in (1,602 mm)
    60.9 (1,547 mm)
    +2.2 in (55 mm)
    Interior dimensions
    Max. headroom, front
    40.3 in (1,023 mm)
    39.6 in (1,006 mm)
    +0.7 in (17 mm)
    Headroom, rear
    35.7 in (908 mm)
    35.6 in (905 mm)
    +0.1 in (3 mm)
    Legroom, front
    41.8 in (1,062 mm)
    41.9 in (1,063 mm)
    (-1 mm)
    Legroom, rear
    33.9 in (861 mm)
    33.9 in (860 mm)
    (+1 mm)
    Elbow room, front
    57.4 in (1,457 mm)
    56.0 in (1,422 mm)
    +1.4 in (35 mm)
    Elbow room, rear
    57.2 in (1,454 mm)
    55.5 in (1,410 mm)
    +1.7 in (44 mm)
    Shoulder room, front
    55.1 in (1,400 mm)
    54.8 in (1,391 mm)
    +0.3 in (9 mm)
    Shoulder room, rear
    54.0 in (1,372 mm)
    53.1 in (1,350 mm)
    +0.9 in (22 mm)
    Load compartment width max.
    56.9 in (1,444 mm)
    52.4 in (1,331 mm)
    +4.5 in (113 mm)
    Load compartment
    depth max.
    41.5 in (1,054 mm)
    40.6 in (1,030 mm)
    +0.9 in (24 mm)
    Width of load
    compartment opening
    35.1 in (891 mm)
    24.8 in (629 mm)
    +10.3 in (262 mm)
    Trunk capacity
    460 liters
    470 liters
    -10 liters
    Suspension: exceptionally agile and yet comfortable
    In terms of driving dynamics, the new CLA keeps the promise of its design: a wide track (an extra 63 mm at the front and 55 mm more at the rear compared to its predecessor) and a lower center of gravity are the two key features which give the CLA the sportiest driving characteristics of all models in the new generation of compacts from Mercedes-Benz. The technical specification includes a decoupled multi-link axle at the rear for reduced noise and vibration, a Direct-Steer system as standard and hydromounts at the front. A stabilizer bar with a larger diameter reduces body roll. As an option, an active adaptive damping system is available, giving the driver the choice between comfort, or a more uncompromising sporty tuning. The range of wheels starts at 18 inches and goes up to 19 inches. The ESP® has been specially adapted to the CLA's potentially high cornering speeds and handling performance.
    One year since the premiere: MBUX keeps on learning
    One year ago, MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – created a furor at its world premiere at CES in Las Vegas with a powerful computer, brilliant screens and graphics, customizable display, full color Head-up Display, Augmented Video for Navigation, software that can learn, and "Hey Mercedes" – the keyword for Voice Control that surpasses conventional automotive standards. This is how Mercedes-Benz is revolutionizing car operation and communication. Now the company is igniting the next level. MBUX Interior Assistant facilitates natural operation. The Voice Control feature now recognizes topical answers in a growing number of domains. Due to ongoing development of the system, it is also possible to take into consideration country-specific content providers.
    "The latest version of Voice Control for MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant, activated by the keyword 'Hey Mercedes,' is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries," says Sajjad Khan, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for CASE and Head of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. "What's more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passengers conversing. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said 'Hey Mercedes' to activate the system."
    MBUX Interior Assistant: an even greater experience
    By recognizing movements, MBUX Interior Assistant brings added intelligence to the interior. Thanks to innovative technology, MBUX now supports the occupants by making various comfort and MBUX functions even simpler and more intuitive. MBUX Interior Assistant operates in non-contact mode and functions both in sunlight and in complete darkness.
    It enables the adaptation of screen content as soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the Touchpad on the center console. Individual elements are highlighted according to the currently active menu. In addition, the system is able to distinguish between the driver's and front passenger's hands and thus knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated.
    A special feature of MBUX Interior Assistant is the personal favorites function, which can be initiated with a horizontally outstretched index and middle finger. In this way, any command which is controllable via MBUX can be stored for simple access. One typical favorite command is "take me home." As the system is able to reliably recognize who is operating it, the driver and front passenger respectively can even assign different favorites to the same hand position.
    There are other functions which can be controlled intuitively, without any need to practice corresponding gestures: In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror. If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. This makes it easier to find any items which may have been set on the seat. As soon as the person's hand leaves this area, the light automatically switches off again.
    "Hey Mercedes": better understanding and more clever responses
    State-of-the-art Voice Control can also be experienced in the CLA as a part of the MBUX system. Here too seat recognition has been implemented. The voice assistance only responds to the commands of the person who last said "Hey Mercedes" to activate the system. When paired with Mercedes me connect, the voice assistant can recognize and respond to considerably more complex queries, for example: "Find child-friendly Asian restaurants nearby with a 4- star rating which are neither Chinese nor Japanese?" There is also a growing number of domains for which MBUX can understand complex questions and quickly reply: these include sports ("Hey Mercedes, how did the San Francisco 49ers play?"), the stock exchange ("Compare the share price of Apple Incorporated to Microsoft"), calculations ("What is the square root of 3?") or general knowledge ("How big is Texas?" or "What is the fat content of an avocado?").
    Aerodynamics: intelligent solutions intelligently designed
    On the way to series production, the aerodynamics of the new CLA underwent a considerably longer phase of optimization than its predecessor in the form of simulations, before the first measurements of models were carried out in the wind tunnel. This was possible due to greater computing capacity, as well as more experience of working with simulation tools and their best possible use in the development process.
    A key advantage of the simulation process is that it is easy to determine the exact proportions of the form, and to examine the effects of a change in form on flow at another point which is either before or after in the direction of flow, without it being necessary to make changes to the physical model.
    Work on optimization was in close collaboration with the designers and was particularly intensive on the rear bumper, radiator grille, the fog lamp recesses (the relief-like diamond-shaped pattern of which was reduced to the edge on the CLA for aerodynamic reasons) and the height of the diffuser. Totally new are the wheel-arch spoilers with their fins in the longitudinal direction; they help air to flow around the wheels with minimal losses. Integrated as standard at the front of the vehicle is a two-piece shutter system behind the radiator grille, which regulates air flow through the engine compartment. The almost complete underbody paneling encompasses the engine compartment, the main floor, parts of the rear axle and the diffuser.
    Intelligent Drive: functions from the S-Class
    The CLA has the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, and thus provides the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S-Class. For the first time, the CLA is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation. Improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 1,640 feet (500 meters) ahead. The CLA also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC®, as part of the optional Driver Assistance Package, is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and to predictively and conveniently adjust the speed, for example when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Also on board are Active Emergency Stop Assist and the intuitively understandable Active Lane Change Assist.
    The new CLA comes with enhanced Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, it can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or to prevent them altogether.
    Active Lane Keeping Assist is able to warn the driver by means of pulsed vibrations in the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane at speeds between approximately 35 and 125 mph. If the vehicle passes over a solid line, it can pull the vehicle back into lane by applying the brakes on one side. In the case of a dotted line, such intervention takes place only when there is a danger of collision with a vehicle in the adjacent lane (including danger from oncoming traffic).
    PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognize an imminent rear-end collision from a vehicle from behind. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, thus lowering the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
    LED Headlamps: better visibility in all conditions
    Another example of automotive intelligence and the transfer of technology from the luxury segment to the compact class are the standard LED Headlamps and optionally available Active LED Headlamps. They allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. Each headlamp on the CLA incorporates 18 individually controllable LEDs. The daylight-like light color of the LEDs is easy on the eyes and has a positive effect on concentration. The road ahead is precisely and brightly illuminated. The tail lamps are also available with all- LED technology.
    Drive system: start with the most powerful engine
    At the trade show presentation in Las Vegas, the CLA on display is the CLA 250 with the powerful four-cylinder gasoline engine, paired with a 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission, available with front-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
    The new Mercedes-Benz CLA will celebrate its World Premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2019 and will go on sale in the U.S. by late 2019.
    Previous Page Next Page

    Drew Dowdell

    Harley-Davidson's first production electric bike is now available for pre-order, but it will cost you.

    At the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, Harley-Davidson announced the production version of the Livewire all-electric bike would go on sale in August of 2019 and pre-orders are open now.  The Livewire starts at $29,799.
    The estimated riding range for the Livewire is approximately 110 miles on an urban cycle.  With the onboard level 1 charger (a standard household outlet), the bike will charge overnight. Level 2 and Level 3 DC fast charging is available while out on the road, but charging time has not been released.  Harley has stated that all dealers that sell the Livewire will have chargers on-site for public use.
    Harley states that the Livewire can do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. That sounds fast for a car, but merely mid-pack for a motorcycle. 
    Harley-Davidson in investing heavily in electric motorcycles and expects to have a full portfolio of EV bikes available by 2022.


    Drew Dowdell

    The next generation infotainment system integrates driver and passenger systems into one.

    At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas NV, Honda is demonstrating a prototype of their new Honda Dream Drive infotainment system. The new system integrates both driver and passenger infotainment.
    For the driver, Honda Dream Drive offers an expansion of Honda's existing in-vehicle payment system.  It allows drivers to pay for fuel, movie tickets, food pickup or delivery, and parking. Additionally, the system can make restaurant reservations and share the vehicle location with family and friends. Originally exclusively through Visa, the payment system now include Mastercard and Paypal. 
    For passengers, Honda Dream Drive offers games, watch movies, listen to music, use travel apps, and explore points of interest along the route, all from the passengers' mobile device. 
    As this is a demonstration of a prototype, there is no official release date announced for Honda Dream Drive. 

    William Maley

    My, what a big screen you have.

    Chinese electric car start-up Byton surprised everyone last year at Consumer Electronics Show with the M-Byte electric crossover concept. The vehicle was quite futuristic in terms of looks and featured a gargantuan touchscreen for the infotainment system. Last night, the company unveiled a production-ready cabin for their upcoming crossover and retains the massive touchscreen.
    Running the entire length of the windshield,  the “Shared Experience Display” will provide vehicle and driving information, along with the ability to capture and playback "wide array of digital content – music, videos, photos, files, contacts, and more." If you're like us, you are wondering how much of a distraction this screen will be. Byton claims that the display has been designed and tested "to not affect driver line-of-sight and can automatically adjust brightness according to changes in ambient lighting to avoid further distraction." The SED also meets "automotive safety standards as well as crash standards in all target markets," including the U.S. - we'll see about that.
    But that isn't the only screen! Byton has also included a 7-inch touchscreen on the steering wheel that allows the driver to configure the car and go through the functions of the SED. There will also be an 8-inch touchpad mounted between the front seats, and two touchscreens for the rear.
    Aside from the screen-overload, Byton is planning on showing a full production version of the M-Byte crossover sometime later this year with production to begin in China towards the end of the year. Launches for Europe and North America will follow in 2020. Again, we'll see if they can reach that goal.

    Source: Byton

    BYTON Unveils a Closer Look at the M-Byte SUV Production Model at 2019 CES Las Vegas
    LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- BYTON, the premium intelligent electric vehicle brand, today revealed new details about its first production model, the M-Byte SUV, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas. Positioned as the next generation smart device, BYTON is designed for the future of autonomous driving when the automobile will become a mobile digital lounge.
    "BYTON's M-Byte represents the transformation of the traditional car into a next-generation smart device for every user," said Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, CEO and Co-founder of BYTON. "We achieve this through the combination our state-of-the-art EV platform and our proprietary BYTON Life digital ecosystem."
    A Digital Cockpit That Improves The Driver Experience
    BYTON's Shared Experience Display (SED) remains the world's largest in-car display for a production automobile. It displays vehicle and driving information and offers various content options in an intuitive way. The position of the display has been carefully developed and tested to not affect driver line-of-sight and can automatically adjust brightness according to changes in ambient lighting to avoid further distraction. In addition, the SED will meet automotive safety standards as well as crash standards in all target markets.
    The production M-Byte's user-interface and user experience (UI/UX) hardware will feature abundant shared and private screen space to capture and display a wide array of digital content – music, videos, photos, files, contacts, and more – intuitively and safely to users in any seat:
    The 7-inch Driver Tablet pioneered by BYTON will be at the center of the steering wheel just above the driver airbag, serving as one of the main interfaces for the driver to configure the vehicle and interact with the SED. An 8-inch BYTON Touch Pad has been added between the driver and the front passenger seats on the production model, enabling the front passenger to control the SED and enjoy the same interactive experience as the driver. Rear passengers have access to independent rear-seat entertainment screens that also share content with the SED. The front seats can be rotated inward 12 degrees, to create a space that is more convenient for passengers in the car to interact and communicate with each other when not in motion. The dashboard features a new wraparound design with air conditioning vents, gear selector, and other hard buttons located in the center along with a driver monitoring system to ensure safety during assisted-driving modes. Multiple interaction modes with the vehicle will be offered including voice control, touch control, physical buttons, and gesture control. Enhanced User Experience & Personalized Mobility
    BYTON users will have access to BYTON Life, an open digital ecosystem that connects applications, data, and smart devices. BYTON Life features advanced machine-learning capabilities that analyzes the user's schedule, location, preferences, and application data to provide intuitive support such as scheduling reminders, online shopping tasks, remote charging management, and more. It can recognize voices of different users and sounds from different directions in the car. In North American and European markets, BYTON has been cooperating with Amazon Alexa to jointly develop voice control. In addition, BYTON has also invited software developers from around the world to join BYTON's ecosystem and explore new possibilities for applications and content on BYTON Life's open platform.
    Full-scale vehicle testing ahead of production
    The production version of the BYTON M-Byte is slated to debut in mid-2019, with mass-production starting at the end of the year. To achieve this, vehicle testing continues in full swing to achieve the highest safety and quality standards of China, the US, and Europe. Meanwhile, BYTON's Nanjing plant is on-track to be completed this year and will be equipped with cutting-edge production equipment from leading global partners such as AIDA Engineering of Japan, and KUKA and DÜRR of Germany. The company is also working with key strategic investors FAW and CATL, and world-class suppliers Bosch, BOE, and Faurecia to integrate the world's best technologies and resources into its products.
    "We have made solid progress in the construction of our Nanjing plant and prototype vehicle testing," said Dr. Daniel Kirchert, President and Co-Founder of BYTON. "This is a vital year for BYTON and our global team is sparing no efforts to achieve our goal of volume production."

    William Maley

    That's a bit different

    Previous Page Next Page We've known for some time that Kia is working on an electric version of the Niro, complementing the hybrid and recently launched plug-in hybrid. It was suspected that the Niro EV would be similar to the Hyundai Ioniq EV with a 110-mile range. But that might not be the case if Kia's concept comes to fruition.
    Last night at the Consumer Electronics Show, Kia debuted the Niro EV concept. Compared to the standard Niro, the EV concept looks polarizing with a display panel where the grille would be, bulging hood, futuristic wheels, and a new design for the rear. The ride height is also slightly higher, possibly hinting that a larger battery is installed. The interior is very different from the current Niro with "pure, minimalist, and digital" design. Many of the vehicle's functions are done through touch and gesture controls.
    Kia didn't spill many details on the Niro EV concept's powertrain aside from it using "new production technologies earmarked for near-future EVs from Kia" and using a 150 kW (201 horsepower) electric motor and 64 kWh battery pack. Range is estimated to be 231 miles.
    Source: Kia
    Press Release is on Page 2
    Kia presents autonomous, connected and eco/electric technologies at CES
    Full model range to be connected cars by 2030
    Kia to offer 16 electrified vehicles by 2025 with hybrid, EV and FCEV power
    All-new Kia fuel-cell EV due to launch in 2020
    Niro EV Concept offers 238 miles of driving range
    Kia to commercialize Level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities by 2021
    WiBLE car-sharing service to launch in Europe during 2018
    Las Vegas - January 8, 2018 – Kia Motors today presents its future mobility vision at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Under its new ‘Boundless for all’ vision, Kia will bring a future in which opportunities for mobility and transportation are limitless. To broaden horizons with its mobility services, Kia is also demonstrating a range of new technologies as part of its new ‘ACE’ strategy to make its cars more Autonomous, Connected and Eco/Electric.
    “‘Boundless for all’ is Kia’s future vision – where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the infinite value that future mobility will bring. This is Kia’s manifesto for its role as a mass mobility provider in the future. Consumers are bound today by the idea that a car is ‘just a vehicle’, but Kia is committed to providing a broader solution to mobility. ‘Boundless for all’ represents a future in which a vehicle can be so much more than the sum of its parts,” said Dr. Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman and Head of Kia R&D Center.
    Kia’s ‘ACE’ strategy is based around three core elements, presenting Kia’s vision for future personal transportation:
    Autonomous – Kia plans to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving technology, with ‘Smart City’ autonomous vehicle testing due to commence in 2021 Connected – By 2025, Kia will adopt connected car technologies across every vehicle segment, and aim to make every single model a connected car by 2030 Eco/Electric – Kia will introduce 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including a range of new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as an all-new fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2020 Alongside these technologies, Kia announced its plans to roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-sharing service – launched in Korea in 2017 – to new regions from 2018, starting with Europe.
    Beyond Autonomous Driving: Kia’s exhibition theme for ‘connected’ vehicles
    At CES 2018, Kia is presenting a range of interactive exhibits which combine existing and future technologies. These demonstrate how vehicles could be optimized for enhanced connectivity as they become more autonomous.
    Kia’s exhibits at CES 2018 hint at a future ‘Beyond Autonomous Driving’. Visitors can interact with Kia’s developing autonomous drive technologies through a VR simulator, while also experiencing a V2X diorama demonstrating how cars could connect with other vehicles and the urban environment.
    The company plans to operate a large-scale test fleet for autonomous technology on public roads from 2019, paving the way for commercial production of the technology. Kia aims to commercialize Level 4 autonomous vehicles in smart cities from 2021 with a new Smart City pilot project.
    “Kia’s connected cars will be both boundless and connected and offer a new kind of mobility experience. Virtual reality, self-driving cars, and ‘vehicle-to-everything’ connectivity were all once considered technologies of the distant future. As they rapidly become a reality, Kia is exploring how to deploy these new technologies for its customers. Our strategy and vision for future mobility is demonstrated by a range of interactive displays, showing what our customers can look forward to,” said Vice Chairman Yang.
    16 new electrified vehicles by 2025
    Kia will continue to expand its range of environmentally-friendly cars in the coming years, and plans to offer a total of 16 electrified vehicles by 2025, including a fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in 2020.
    “By 2025, we will offer a total of 16 advanced powertrain vehicles, with five new hybrids and plug-in hybrids, five new battery EVs, and an all-new mass market FCEV. Due to launch in 2020, this FCEV will spearhead Kia’s efforts to realize a zero-emission future for mobility,” said Vice Chairman Yang.
    As part of this strategy, Kia is exhibiting the Niro EV Concept at CES 2018. Combining the stylish design of a modern compact SUV with the high efficiency of an advanced battery-electric powertrain, the Kia Niro EV Concept represents the next step in the brand’s ongoing journey to electrification.
    Created by Kia’s design studio in Korea, the Niro EV Concept is a fully-electric compact SUV. Its aerodynamically-efficient body allows air to slip over, around and beneath the vehicle with ease. The traditional grille – no longer required for engine cooling – is replaced by a smooth interactive display panel, combined with ultra-slim lamp technology in the overall front. In profile, the concept draws inspiration from the current Kia Niro, with a modish compact crossover silhouette, elevated body and wide C-pillar. The Niro EV Concept’s seamless rear aspect has clean and sharp trailing edges allowing air to flow more easily off the back of the car.
    With a silent electric powertrain, and the anticipation that such a car would be driven most frequently on urban and suburban roads, the Niro EV Concept boasts new technologies to enhance safety for pedestrians.
    The concept’s new Active Pedestrian Warning System (APWS) features a combination of front view cameras, object recognition technology and front speakers. If the system detects a pedestrian or cyclist crossing in front of the car, the speakers sound an alert targeted specifically at that person, warning them of the car’s presence. APWS is matched by the Niro EV Concept’s new interactive lighting system, which offers users and pedestrians a highly-intuitive visual communication with vehicle.
    Inside, the cabin has been designed with a pure, minimalist and digital appearance, creating greater user interaction with new technologies and features. With a wrap-around design to cocoon the driver and passengers, the dashboard’s horizontal layout has broad and smooth surfaces. The effect is an innate sense of space and calm in the cabin, enhanced by the soft shades of silver, grey and bronze covering every surface.
    The Niro EV Concept is powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain, using new production technologies earmarked for near-future EVs from Kia. Energy is provided by a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, paired with a powerful 150 kW electric motor. The Niro EV Concept suggests a driving range of 238 miles (383 kilometers), with zero tailpipe emissions.
    Interactive exhibits preview new in-car technology
    At CES 2018, Kia is exhibiting its latest HMI technologies, autonomous drive features and the world’s first in-car 5G connection. These exhibits hint at innovations that could be adapted for use in the brand’s future vehicles. Kia is demonstrating these innovations through a set of interactive cockpit-style experiences, presenting the brand’s ‘Beyond Autonomous Driving’ vision with technologies that idle passengers can draw upon in a future of vehicle autonomy.
    The first cockpit gives visitors the chance to experience the Niro EV Concept’s pioneering new HMI, with enhanced interaction between visitors and the vehicle. The infotainment and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are controlled by touch and gesture, with the steering wheel acting as a remote. The driver can ‘swipe’ along a perforated leather area on the base of the two-spoke wheel, with different gestures serving to switch between favorite music tracks, turn up the volume, and adjust cabin ventilation settings. A digital dashboard display provides additional information to the driver, such as vehicle settings, powertrain status, and trip information.
    Creating a more digital interaction between car and driver than in a traditional vehicle, the HMI allows drivers to ‘log-in’ to the vehicle using face and voice recognition. The facial and voice recognition technology, developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), welcomes drivers and adjusts vehicle settings based on preset individual preferences. Leveraging ‘Amazon Rekognition’ and ‘Amazon Polly’ – highly accurate facial analysis and voice services provided by AWS – the new system disables many of the car’s functions if the driver does not pass the identification process.
    The HMI cockpit at CES 2018 lets users experiment with these exciting new in-car technologies.
    A second cockpit demonstrates the world’s first in-vehicle 5G connection – with a real-time connection established between Las Vegas and Seoul, Korea. The 5G connection enables users to stream contents reliably into the car, linked to the exhibit’s infotainment system.
    The second cockpit also presents the Niro EV Concept’s Separate Sound Control System, allowing users in the front and rear rows to experience Kia’s sound separation technology. The technology allows front and rear passengers to listen to their own music at the same time without intruding on others in the car. The system features eight speakers installed in the headrests, simultaneously pumping out sounds for each seat row, and using noise-cancellation technology to ‘mute’ sound from the other row of seats. By creating two sound zones in the car, occupants in different rows can enjoy listening to separate music or podcasts. Developed in-house, Kia believes this technology could be adapted to enhance occupant comfort in future production cars.
    Finally, visitors can experience Kia’s own autonomous drive support technologies with a series of virtual reality exhibits. The VR simulations demonstrate Kia’s autonomous drive support technologies in a range of environments, via VR headsets.
    WiBLE car-sharing service to launch in Europe in 2018
    Enabling urban and suburban mobility, Kia has today announced plans to roll-out its ‘WiBLE’ car-sharing service to new regions. Launched in Korea in 2017, WiBLE – a portmanteau of ‘Widely Accessible’ – will be introduced to certain European markets and cities from late 2018. Kia plans to expand the service into other markets around the world in the coming years.
    WiBLE will be serviced in the designated areas in city centers, providing vehicles to customers who need to drive but may not own a car of their own or who want more convenient drive in city centers.
    In Korea, WiBLE users have access to a variety of different Kia cars to complete their journeys, including the Soul EV, Niro hybrid crossover and larger vehicles. Vehicles are equipped with a range of Kia’s active safety technologies to help customers complete journeys safely in a car with which they may not be familiar. This format is expected to be carried over into new WiBLE markets.
    WiBLE is accessed via an accompanying smartphone app. Users then pay for individual journeys in a WiBLE vehicle, charged according to the amount of time they use the car. WiBLE in Europe enables users to complete one-way journeys, rather than requiring them to return the car to the same point, for maximum convenience and value for money.
    Kia will announce the first European locations for the launch of WiBLE later in 2018.
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    William Maley

    Has an approximate range of 370 miles

    Even though Hyundai is expanding their alternative fuel plans with electrics and plug-in hybrids, the Korean automaker still sees a place for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hyundai unveiled their next-generation fuel-cell vehicles, the Nexo.
    Replacing the Tucson FCEV, the Nexo is based on a bespoke platform that is designed with fuel cells in mind. This allows for better packing of the hydrogen tanks in the vehicle. Hyundai says the Nexo's powertrain is comprised of an electric motor producing 120 kW (160 horsepower) and 291 pound-feet of torque; a smaller fuel stack - what converts the hydrogen into electricity, lithium-ion battery pack, and three hydrogen tanks. Performance figures are 9.9 second run to 60 mph and a range of approximately 370 miles.
    The Nexo will also come chockfull with a number of safety features such as a blind spot monitoring system that shows the rear and side views in the instrument cluster; Lane Follow Assist that keeps the car centered in its lane; Highway Driving Assist which uses sensors and map data to automatically adjust speed; and Remote Smart Parking Assist that enables the Nexo to park or summon itself without a driver in the vehicle.
    Hyundai is planning to make the Nexo available in select markets later this year. Hyundai isn't detailing how it plans on selling the Nexo - we're guessing it will be some sort of leasing program.
    Source: Hyundai
    Press Release is on Page 2

    NEXO: The Next-Generation Fuel Cell Vehicle From Hyundai
    Hyundai names technological flagship fuel cell vehicle NEXO New ADAS technologies revealed including self-parking and Lane following features LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2018 – Hyundai Motor today announced that NEXO will be the name of its all-new, dedicated Fuel Cell EV during a press conference at CES 2018, and disclosed Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that expand its autonomous driving potential. NEXO is the technological flagship of Hyundai’s growing eco-vehicle portfolio and marks Hyundai’s continued momentum toward having the industry’s most diverse CUV powertrain lineup.
    The NEXO model will spearhead Hyundai Motor’s plans to accelerate development of low emission vehicles, in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s renewed goal of introducing 18 eco-friendly models to global markets by 2025. This new development roadmap also represents the next step for Hyundai Motor toward realizing the ultimate ambition of creating a cleaner environment through eco-friendly vehicles.
    Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM)
    Hyundai’s Blind-spot View Monitor is an industry-first technology. It shows drivers on a center cluster screen the rear and side views of NEXO using cameras while changing lanes in either direction. The system uses wide angle surround view monitors (SVM) on each side of the vehicle to monitor areas that cannot be seen by a traditional rearview mirror. Hyundai is the first automaker to provide drivers video footage from both sides of the vehicle.
    Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Highway Driving Assist (HDA)
    Lane Following Assist is an all-new technology for Hyundai and it debuts in the NEXO. LFA automatically adjusts steering to help keep NEXO centered in its lane of travel. LFA can keep NEXO centered at speeds between 0 and 90 miles per hour on both highways and city streets. When paired with Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist (HDA) which utilizes sensors and map data to ensure safe operation as well as automatically adjust speed in limited environments, drivers will be able to traverse long distances with greater ease and improved safety.
    Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA)
    RSPA enables NEXO to autonomously park or retrieve itself from a parking space with or without a driver in the car. The RSPA system can even back a NEXO into a parking spot by itself with a touch of a button from the driver. When faced with any challenging parking scenario, NEXO drivers will be able to park with complete confidence and accuracy.
    Hyundai NEXO
    “Hydrogen energy is the key to building a more sustainable society. Hyundai Motor Company has already taken a lead in hydrogen technology with introduction of Tucson fuel cell,” said Dr. Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman, Hyundai Motor Company. “Yet as another result of this earth-saving effort, today, I am so proud to introduce to you our second-generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle which is a culmination of our cutting-edge technologies.”
    NEXO is Hyundai’s second-generation of commercialized fuel cell electric vehicle that will be available in select markets around the world starting in early 2018. Improving upon the acclaimed Tucson FCEV, the NEXO has an estimated driving range of 370 miles, 105 more than its predecessor. Acceleration and power have increased to improve the overall performance.
    Designed to handle extreme temperature and environments, the NEXO testing has proven that the vehicle is capable of starting after being subject to overnight temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. NEXO boasts cold start capability within 30 seconds which is an industry-leading achievement and the fuel cell system warms up faster for maximum performance. The NEXO also has excellent cooling performance on steep grades with temperatures exceeding 120 degree Fahrenheit.
    Improvements in the air supply system, performance at high altitudes and refueling times, along with overall efficiency and fuel economy put the NEXO in a class all its own. In addition the NEXO has improved power density and durability comparable with a gasoline-powered vehicles.
    Dedicated Architecture
    For the first time ever, Hyundai’s fuel cell vehicle is built with a dedicated vehicle architecture. This architecture has many benefits including:
    Lighter weight Improved power-to-weight ratio Faster acceleration from 0 to 60 mph than the Tucson FCEV More cabin space Allows the battery to be relocated to the trunk Improved fuel cell system layout  NEXO vs. Tucson Fuel Cell System Architecture
    NEXO’s fuel cell stack and battery have more net power to supply a more powerful motor NEXO’s powertrain is lighter and has improved packaging Improved hydrogen storage tanks Powertrain Improvements
    NEXO’s powertrain is lighter and takes up less space compared with Tucson FCEV More efficient Better module integration Smaller Lighter Drivability
    Peak acceleration is increased by 25 percent compared with Tucson FCEV NEXO accelerates from 0 to 60 mph 20 percent faster than Tucson FCEV NEXO has more torque than the Tucson FCEV Range
    NEXO has 30 percent more range than the Tucson FCEV NEXO has an estimated range of 370 miles compared with the Tucson FCEV 265 miles Quiet and Comfortable Driving Characteristics
    NEXO maintains the quiet and comfortable driving characteristics of the Tucson FCEV All of the NEXO’s moving parts are inside the engine bay which isolates the noise to one area Durability
    NEXO has the same level of durability as internal combustion engine vehicles Hydrogen Storage
    NEXO’s storage system is lighter than the Tucson FCEV NEXO’s storage system has world-class storage density NEXO can be refueled within five minutes Overall Summary 
    Tucson FCEV
    Fuel Cell : 95kW
    Battery :40kW
    Fuel Cell : 100kW
    Battery : 24kW
    291 lb.-ft. of torque
    221 lb.-ft. of torque
    0 to 60 mph
     9.5 seconds
    12.5 seconds
    370 estimated
    265 miles
    * All NEXO specification and technologies mentioned above may vary according markets
    * All NEXO specification and technologies mentioned above may vary according markets

    William Maley

    The future of Chrysler's minivan?

    It may not be the electric Pacifica we were hearing about last month, but Chrysler does have an electric minivan concept that will be debuting later today at the Consumer Electronics Show. Meet the Portal concept which Chrysler describes as "created by millennials for millennials."
    The Portal does look like something from the set of Blade Runner with an interesting front end, massive wheels, and a set of huge double-sliding doors. The Portal rides on a 118.2 wheelbase, making it slightly smaller than the Pacifica. Inside, the seats are mounted on rails that allow them to move fore and aft, fold flat, or be removed completely. There is also a prominent LCD screen that runs the length of the dashboard, along with a touchscreen mounted in the center. Finally, there are 10 docking stations for various smartphones and tablets.
    A single electric motor provides the motivation for the front wheels. Under the floor lies a 100-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can provide an overall range of more than 250 miles. When plugged into a 350-kW fast charger, the Portal's battery pack can be recharged to have a 150 mile range within 20 minutes. 
    Like most concepts being shown now, the Portal boasts autonomous driving technologies; in this case, Level 3 tech. This means a driver can let the vehicle drive on its own under certain conditions on the highway. Chrysler says the technologies in the Portal can be upgraded to feature such things as facial recognition and voice biometric technologies.
    Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 
    Press Release is on Page 2

    The Chrysler Portal concept is designed to keep the driver and passengers connected – to each other, to the vehicle and to the surrounding world.
    Starting with today’s widespread use of the Internet and social media for communication and information, the FCA User Experience (UX) team, and an internal UX Tiger team from the Panasonic Automotive Advanced Engineering function, jointly picked a blend of emerging and future technologies to engage the next generation of vehicle users.
    “When our teams began imagining the user experiences inside the Chrysler Portal, we set out to identify a long-time supplier partner who could help push the limits of customization and personalization,” said Scott Thiele, Chief Purchasing Officer for FCA NV and Head of Purchasing and Supplier Quality for FCA – North America. “Working with Panasonic Automotive on this concept vehicle is just one example of how FCA is engaging strategic suppliers early in the development phase to bring to life innovations that can become industry benchmarks.”
    Tapping the Panasonic Cognitive Infotainment (PCI) platform as the foundation of the UX feature set, the Chrysler User Experience team matched future consumer needs (life, finances and new technology) to those new technology solutions now exhibited in the Portal concept.
    “Working together, FCA and Panasonic Automotive are showing a more cognitively enhanced set of technologies that can give drivers and passengers a superior, more accurate, just-in-time in-vehicle experience,” said Tom Gebhardt, President, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America.
    “In fact, we are so delighted by the partnership, Panasonic has created a complimentary technology exhibition to further showcase our joint interests in UX, software, hardware, and cloud services specifically featuring a unique e-commerce retail use case.”
    The battery-powered Chrysler Portal concept electric vehicle was unveiled today at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
    Facial recognition, voice biometrics provide a seamless, personalized experience
    For members of the millennial generation, the target audience for the Chrysler Portal concept, technology is more than a tool – it’s an integral part of their lives.
    The hub of this technology is the mobile phone. The Chrysler Portal concept is engineered to seamlessly detect and connect with passengers’ mobile devices, expanding the social canvas.
    Recognition and user authentication is the next level of personalization and a primary driving factor for the user experience. Facial recognition and voice biometric technologies work together to provide a seamless personalization experience. As a result, all passengers can set up individual and group settings for an enjoyable, customized experience. For example, facial recognition tells the Chrysler Portal who is in the vehicle and how to automatically configure preferred settings, such as music, lighting, vehicle temperature, heated or cooled seats, etc. Internet cloud-based technologies, combined with facial and voice recognition, keep those preferred settings in sync should a passenger move to another seat.
    Accessing technology inside the vehicle is naturally intuitive using a blend of voice controls with familiar touch controls. With an array of microphones inside the Portal concept, voice control is available to all occupants. Advanced speech software can identify who is speaking to accurately determine an action, such as which display screen to access. Embedded interior and connected portable device cameras also facilitate conversations and interactions.
    Want to play music tailored for an individual, such as a child? Simply say, “Play Johnny’s ‘Naptime Favorites’ playlist.” Personalized audio zones enable each passenger to listen to their own content isolated to their seat without the need for headphones. 
    Facial recognition enables the Chrysler Portal concept to track the driver’s directional gaze, as a result, the intensity of the high-mount display screen can automatically dim or increase to help reduce eye strain. If the driver is looking at a specific location on the display and a critical notification occurs, such as an oncoming emergency vehicle, a message pop-up in the area where the driver is looking helps reduce reaction time.
    Turn road trips into social memories
    Social media plays a large role in the lives of many Millennials. In the Chrysler Portal concept, sharing content between passengers is as easy as a swipe to the right. A personal tablet or mobile device becomes a community display screen via a docking station in the Chrysler Portal’s headliner, making it easily viewable by second- and third-row passengers. Media such as music, images and videos from personal devices can be shared with a simple upward swipe to the display screen. The community display is ideal for road trips with family and friends. At a glance, infographics show the progress of the vehicle to the trip destination. 
    The Chrysler Portal concept also takes into consideration each passenger’s media preferences and enables them to contribute to the road trip experience. Using predictive intelligence, passenger preferences can be merged to create an overall community setting that can help the group find destinations and plan the best route, select a restaurant, and play music and videos everyone can enjoy. 
    Once a route is set, it can be added to the community display so all passengers can monitor the trip’s progress. At the lunch break, passengers can use the technology in the Chrysler Portal concept to order from a quick service restaurant via voice or touchscreen without rolling down the window or leaving the vehicle, a real convenience in inclement weather. If someone is not sure what to order, the system’s intelligence can offer suggestions based on the passenger’s personal settings. With ecommerce, there is no need for cash or a credit card as the payment can be securely transacted from the vehicle while in transit.
    Once at the destination, interior and exterior cameras can capture the moment with a selfie, which is then automatically downloaded to everyone’s personal device and can be shared via social media.
    Affordable, upgradeable technology designed to be added as needed
    Keeping the user experience affordable, the Chrysler Portal concept’s in-vehicle technology is designed to be adaptable and upgradeable. Cost-conscious consumers are able to decide what technology they want to add and when they want to integrate it into their vehicle, such as adding technologies to meet the ongoing needs of a new family.  For example, the vehicle’s short-range wireless network enables parents to connect a baby monitor camera to a seat, with the image appearing on the high-mount display.
    Another way consumers could integrate their personal devices is by using the Chrysler Portal Concept Companion App. Once downloaded to a mobile device, the companion app has the ability to customize vehicle lighting, control vehicle and home settings, lock/unlock doors and operate other functions from any location. 
    Advanced driving assistance
    A key element of the Chrysler Portal concept’s user experience is the graphic-rich, high-quality information available to the driver.
    The hub of this information is the high-mount display, located above where a traditional instrument panel would be placed. Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) technology in the display makes the screen brighter and sharper. The technology embedded in the Chrysler Portal collects a wide spectrum of visual, sensor-based and infrastructure data; organizes and configures the information for display; and tailors the presentation to keep the driver’s attention on the highest priority functions.
    The display, which spans nearly the entire length of the instrument panel, is positioned higher intentionally for greater visibility and to aid the driver keeping his/her eyes on the road. Maintaining visibility with the horizon helps reduce the possibility of motion sickness while interacting with the 3-D graphics, especially if Level 3 autonomous driving mode is engaged.
    The length of the screen enables three zones of information. The first section of the screen, located in front of the driver, offers traditional vehicle information, such as speed. The middle section displays a 360-degree situational awareness view, such as surrounding vehicles, GPS information and points of interest, and can be viewed by other vehicle occupants. The third section can be used for media sharing, status updates of passengers, such as their seat temperature, music or videos being played and a view of them.
    During Level 3 autonomous driving, the display communicates the status of the vehicle and the surrounding environment. Should the vehicle come to a stop or perform a quick maneuver, the viewable display makes it clear to all occupants the status of the vehicle.
    The Chrysler Portal concept is constantly using Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication that enables the vehicle to “talk” with the public infrastructure, Internet, and other vehicles via an array of sensors. For example, if an approaching ambulance is out of sight, V2X systems will notify the vehicle that the ambulance is approaching. Graphics on the high-mount display will communicate the oncoming ambulance by simulating its approach and direction, and the audio system will provide cues that the vehicle is approaching.

    William Maley

    It seems Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' relationship with Google extends further from self-driving vehicles

    We know that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is planning to show off some big stuff later this week at the Consumer Electronics Show and we have gotten an official announcement on one of their showings.
    FCA and Google will be showing off a Chrysler 300 that is running the latest UConnect infotainment system and Android 7.0 Nougat. FCA is currently working with Google on developing the next-generation of infotainment systems that would use Android as a backend while retaining the "unique and intuitive" interface of UConnect.
    “This collaboration with Google has been an extremely beneficial opportunity for both companies to explore how in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity technology continues to evolve, and what it takes to meet consumers’ increasing desire for innovation of information with minimal distraction,” Chris Barman, FCA's head of electrical engineering, said in a statement.
    Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
    Press Release is on Page 2

    FCA and Google Collaborate on a Uconnect System Concept Powered by Android
    FCA demonstrates features of open-source Android at CES 2017 in Las Vegas Collaboration focuses on the next generation of connected car systems, using the Android open-source platform Google and FCA will showcase the seamless integration of Android with the award-winning Uconnect 8.4-inch connected system Android offers automakers user interface customization, a full-featured automotive infotainment stack and ability to integrate Android apps into the vehicle’s infotainment system Hands-on demonstrations available at the FCA exhibit during CES 2017, Jan. 5–8 January 2, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA and Google are using CES 2017 to demonstrate a seamless integration of the award-winning Uconnect 8.4-inch connected vehicle system featuring Android, the world’s most popular open-source operating system.

    A hands-on concept demonstration of the power of combining Uconnect with Android is on display at CES, Jan. 5-8, inside a Chrysler 300 sedan.
    FCA is in collaboration with Google regarding the next-generation connected car systems enabled by the power of an open platform and ecosystem of Android.
    “This collaboration with Google has been an extremely beneficial opportunity for both companies to explore how in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity technology continues to evolve, and what it takes to meet consumers’ increasing desire for innovation of information with minimal distraction,” says Chris Barman, Head of Electrical Engineering, FCA. “With Android, we are able to maintain our unique and intuitive Uconnect user interface, all while integrating our easy-to-use systems with Android’s features and ecosystem of applications.”
    CES attendees can get one-on-one demonstrations of the Uconnect system powered by the latest version of Android, 7.0 Nougat, which includes core infotainment features such as radio and comfort controls.
    The Uconnect and Android integration also enable a system that is built for connectivity and compatibility with the universe of popular Android applications. The demonstration will show a seamless integration with Google Assistant, Google Maps and popular Android apps like Pandora, Spotify, NPR One and Pocket Casts.
    “Google is committed to building Android as a turn-key automotive platform that integrates deeply with the vehicle in a safe and seamless way,” said Patrick Brady, Director of Android Engineering, Google. “This collaboration with FCA brings together the industry standard for connected car systems with Android to create powerful infotainment systems designed for the digital age.”
    To visit the FCA exhibit, #6306, navigate to the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Thursday, Jan. 5 – Sunday, Jan. 8.

    William Maley

    Ford reveals an improved self-driving test vehicle

    Before the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas next week, Ford has unveiled the second-generation self-driving Fusion Hybrid test vehicle. 
    The most noticeable change is cosmetic. Gone are the tall cylinder sensors mounted on the roof. In their place are a set of roof rails featuring new LiDAR sensors that give the vehicle a more targeted field of vision. This allows Ford to only use two sensors which provide the same amount of data if they were using four. Other improvements over the previous test vehicle include more computational and electrical power; computer vision and machine learning technologies; and highly-detailed 3D maps.
    "The Virtual Driver's responsibilities can be slotted into three tasks: sensing the surrounding environment, using that perception to make decisions on the road, and controlling the car. The Fusion Hybrid's autonomous brain is located in the trunk, where the equivalent of several high-end computers generate 1 terabyte of data an hour - more than the average person would use in mobile phone data in 45 years," wrote chief program engineer Chris Brewer in a post on Medium.
    These improvements plus an expansion of their test fleet to 90 vehicles should help Ford reach its goal of having a Level 4 autonomous vehicle - designed to perform safety-critical driving functions and monitor conditions during the trip - by 2021.
    Source: Ford, Medium
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Ford Motor Company is introducing its next-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle, just in time for CES and the North American International Auto Show in January.
    The new vehicle uses the current Ford autonomous vehicle platform, but ups the processing power with new computer hardware. Electrical controls are closer to production-ready, and adjustments to the sensor technology, including placement, allow the car to better see what’s around it. New LiDAR sensors have a sleeker design and more targeted field of vision, which enables the car to now use just two sensors rather than four, while still getting just as much data.
    The new vehicle also evolves the two main elements to creating an autonomous vehicle – the autonomous vehicle platform, which is an upgraded version of the car itself, and the virtual driver system.
    The next-gen Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle follows the company’s current generation, which hit the streets three years ago.

    William Maley

    It Might Not Be A Microbus, But It Does Show Volkswagen's New Modular Electric Platform

    This isn't the Microbus you are looking. Despite many hoping Volkswagen would introduce a modern version of the iconic 60's van, what we got with the BUDD-e that debut at the Consumer Electronics Show last night is a cross between a Scion xB and a Volkswagen Eurovan.
    But let us move on because the BUDD-e has something that will be appearing in Volkswagen models in the near future. The BUDD-e is the first vehicle that is built on the Modular Electric Toolkit (or MEB). This new modular platform according to the automaker will have the range, utility, and cost needed to become the primary vehicle for many people. For the BUDD-e, the platform allows a 101-kWh lithium-ion battery pack under the floor to provide the power. Electric motors power the front and rear axles.
    Volkswagen says the BUDD-e has an overall range of 373 Miles in the New European Driving Cycle, a top speed of 93 MPH, and can be recharged to 80 percent in 15 minutes. Interestingly, Autoweek reports during the presentation, chairman Dr. Herbert Diess said the BUDD-e is rated at 233 Miles by the EPA. No explanation was given to the large disparity between the two ratings.
    The interior is a showcase of future technologies. The driver faces 12.3-inch Active Info Display screen that displays navigation, trip information, charging information, and entertainment. The steering wheel boasts a touch interface with haptic feedback, allowing the driver to interact with the menus on the Active Info Display. There is a larger 13.3-inch screen in the dash that provides more information for passengers. The pièce de résistance of the BUDD-e concept? A number of the BUDD-e's functions can be operated by gesture control, even the rear sliding doors.
    Source: Autoweek, Volkswagen

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Jan 5, 2016
    New Concept showcases new MEB electric platform and offers a glimpse of next-generation connectivity and infotainment concepts First VW based on the new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB)Features 101 kWh battery that enables up to 373** miles of pure electric range New interfaces signal next-generation display and ergonomic conceptsBUDD-e becomes integral part in the Internet of Things and links Smart Home and Smart Car technology Gesture control 2.0 enables intuitive operation of interior and exterior featuresBold design captures brand’s heritage while providing a hint at future design direction

    Las Vegas, January 2016 —Building on the momentum from the brand’s first appearance in 2015, Volkswagen is opening a new gateway to the future at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The time machine in this case is a zero-emissions, avant-garde van dubbed BUDD-e. This is the first vehicle based on the all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) that is designed specifically for plug-in vehicles. With a range of up to 373 miles coupled with a charismatic, iconic design, this vehicle successfully incorporates Volkswagen’s heritage while providing a glimpse into the brand’s future.

    Completely and thoroughly networked, BUDD-e is a mobile interface which connects the vehicle with the world around it. With the BUDD-e Volkswagen has developed a vehicle that is more thoroughly connected with its surroundings than any car before it. An integral automotive component in the Internet of Things (IoT), BUDD-e is capable of seamlessly communicating with your Smart Home or office. Featuring next-generation infotainment technologies and offering an advanced new method of operation and information processing, BUDD-e turns travel into a fully interactive, intuitive experience. Utilizing the latest in user interface innovation, touch and gesture control merge seamlessly and result in the removal of switches and buttons inside the cabin, individual displays that blend into large infotainment panels, and digital screens instead of analog mirrors. The convergence of these new, interactive infotainment and operating systems provides a view of potential applications in Volkswagen products in the next decade.
    MEB: The new architecture for Volkswagen’s electric vehicles
    With BUDD-e, Volkswagen demonstrates what electric mobility could be like by the year 2019. Volkswagen’s new MEB platform will enable a series production car to have pure electric range that is on par with today’s gasoline-powered cars by the end of the decade. The time required to charge the batteries to 80 percent of capacity is anticipated to be reduced to about 15 minutes by then, marking an operational breakthrough for EVs.
    BUDD-e is the first concept car developed by the Volkswagen Group that is underpinned by the new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB). This architecture heralds a fundamental change in electric cars and ushers in a revolution in automotive technology, leaving today’s fossil-fuel powered internal combustion engines and drivetrains in the past. This significant innovation will lead to huge changes in the development of electric-powered Volkswagens in the years to come, from body and interior design, to packaging and drive characteristics.
    The new platform is designed to have the space for electric drive components and large batteries while maintaining interior space and driving dynamics. MEB will allow for spacious interiors with the smallest possible footprint to enable easy and nimble transportation. In addition to their space, MEB vehicles will offer high levels of functionality and networking thanks to the new vehicle architecture, instrumentation, and operating systems. New and enhanced assistance systems will provide passengers with safer transport.
    Dynamic performance is, and will remain, a key part of Volkswagen’s DNA, and MEB vehicles will be no exception. With a focus on optimal balance, future VW vehicles based off the platform will offer the kind of agility, strong acceleration and handling that VW customers have come to expect. New battery and electric drive componentry will enable inexpensive access to e-mobility: a much longer purely electric range will allow these vehicles to become the primary transportation in many consumers’ households.
    The new MEB delivers a drivetrain architecture that is specifically tailored for the integration of compact electric motors and high-performance, highly-efficient batteries. The 101 kWh battery is flat, to save space, and integrated into almost the entire vehicle floor. It powers two electric motors, one to drive each axle.
    The front and rear motors power all four wheels and enable a top speed of 93 mph. The total range of up to 373 miles is achieved on a full charge, putting the BUDD-e on a level playing field with today’s gasoline-powered cars. Like today’s electric vehicles, the BUDDE-e offers several levels of plugged-in charging with the added benefit of cordless inductive charging.
    Another benefit of the new MEB is entirely new packaging opportunities, highlighted throughout the BUDD-e concept. One significant enhancement is illustrated by the arrangement of the heating and air conditioning unit. For instance, the innovative new heating and air conditioning unit has been completely integrated in the front end of the car which allows for significantly more available space, improves air quality (thanks to larger and more robust filters), and results in a reduction of fan noise inside the cabin for excellent acoustics.
    The concept van is 181 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 72.2 inches high, placing it between two very successful Volkswagen models sold in Europe, the Touran and the Multivan T6. Due to its generous width, relatively long wheelbase (124.1 inches), and very short overhangs (27 inches at the front and 28.9 inches and the rear), the BUDD-e’s proportions are very appealing.
    Exterior design
    Inspired by the iconic charm of classic Volkswagen vans, the BUDD-e’s design focuses on the aesthetics of functionality. Practical, clean, innovative, powerful and appealing, the concept has a two-tone color scheme, with its body painted in “Nevada White” below the window edge, and the roof in “Phoenix Copper.”
    The front end design of the BUDD-e is unmistakably Volkswagen. The area around the VW logo can be backlit by integrated LED modules in a number of different ways, creating an external ambient light that tapers towards the sides, and a narrow stripe that continues all the way around the van. The main headlights, which also use LED technology, are placed high up, while transparent surfaces to the left and right of the headlights house integrated LED indicators that carry into the vehicle’s silhouette. Viewed from the front, the V-shaped design of these styling cues resemble elements from the original Volkswagen Microbus and Beetle, with a futuristic flare that provides an entirely new interpretation of the brand’s design DNA.
    The van’s silhouette is characterized by a flat and elongated roof line, long windows with glazed A-pillars, 21-inch aluminium-alloy wheels, and light modules that start at the front and reach around the vehicle’s flanks. A narrow LED stripe, which runs all the way round the car, acts as a character line and delivers exterior ambient lighting. The silhouette comes across as especially clean, thanks to an absence of door handles and wing mirrors, as these components have been completely redesigned and replaced by electronic solutions. Flared D-pillars, which also contain the LED strip for the rear lights, accentuate the design further.
    At the rear, the BUDD-e’s aerodynamic design promotes airflow through the gloss black D-pillars, reducing aerodynamic drag and simultaneously optimizing rear downforce. Its clean and iconic design continues all the way to the rear, with a large tailgate, reminiscent of the original Volkswagen bus. LED taillight strips reach up into the D-pillars, and the circumferential ambient light give BUDD-e a unique design unlike anything on the road. Last but not least, a C-shaped LED signature surrounds the extractable Drop Box.
    Next generation human-machine interface
    The interior style of the BUDD-e is characterized by a completely new and innovative human-machine interface—the instrumentation and operating concept of the future. The design is extremely clean and intuitive to use. The technical architecture of the infotainment and control systems, as well as their design, make a quantum leap akin to the jump from flip phones to smartphones or from analog timepieces to smart watches.
    With BUDD-e’s interface design, Volkswagen eliminates the traditional distinction between the electronic instrument cluster in front of the driver and the center console infotainment system. In a move towards comprehensive digitalization and the individualization of the driver’s workplace, these two areas have been merged to form a single information hub.
    The idea behind the navigation panel is rooted in the car’s original function: driving. Behind the panel resides a sliding 3D navigation map with graphics, which becomes the matrix of an interactive human-machine interface (HMI). This is accomplished via two physically separate displays that blend into one, both optically and functionally.
    The first component, Active Info Display, is a freely programmable instrument cluster located in front of the driver; the second is a head unit which was once a separate screen for the infotainment system. Active Info Display captures the conceptual focus on drive information, while the head unit caters to the infotainment needs of all passengers on board. Both of these areas form a united visual and textual environment, as the navigation graphics and the arrangement of media content such as the display of Points of Interest (POI), playlists, apps (App-Connect) and online services (Car-Net) are freely configurable. In addition, the main points and content can also be swapped between the Active Info Display and the head unit.
    All of BUDD-e’s systems are operated intuitively by gesture control, touchscreen (displays and touch slider) or voice control. The driver can choose between various intuitive control modes (multi-modal interaction). For example, a simple “Hello BUDD-e” activates the vehicle’s voice control. The system also offers completely natural speech interaction. For example, if the driver asks “turn the heat up a bit, please”, the car will respond immediately and appropriately. The system is also able to locate the passenger giving the commands, and react accordingly. If, for instance, someone sitting in the left rear seat says “It’s too hot here”, BUDD-e can immediately lower the temperature in that passenger’s zone.
    The BUDD-e’s freely programmable instrument cluster is an evolution of the Active Info Display first introduced by Volkswagen in 2015. A 12.3-inch curved display with a surface consisting of three individually configurable sections is centrally positioned, right in front of the driver.
    Drive, control, consume. In Section I, “Drive”, the center of the Active Info Display, the current travel route is highlighted through a 3D map including buildings and points of interest (POI) as well as navigation instructions. The edges of the navigation image are simultaneously the background of the entire display. In Section II, “Control”, vehicle status and assistance system information is displayed, as well as the current trip data from the on-board computer, left of the Active Info Display.
    In Section III, “Consume”, infotainment content such as “Audio”, “Messages”, “Calendar” and “Weather” are displayed on the right. This layout, designed to concentrate on the route and primarily for driver use, is “Driving mode”. Alternatively, as previously outlined, there is a “Travel mode”, in which the details of the route are displayed on the head unit instead, allowing route guidance and planning by the passengers. The fuel consumption data (left), speed indicator (middle) and information on the energy reserves and range (right) are always displayed in a constant position at the bottom section of the display.
    The head unit, the part of the new HMI easily seen and used by front-and rear-seat passengers, is located in the middle of the dashboard. Its 13.3-inch display is linked to the Active Info Display, both graphically and via software. The head unit displays the extended 3D navigation map (including buildings) as a default setting. The top level of its surface consists of freely assignable tiles that are available in two different sizes. Up to eight tiles in total can be arranged next to each other. Through this, passengers can display “Trip data“, “Audio” (playlist/song/cover) or “Messages” in “Driving mode.” “Travel mode” puts the emphasis on graphical representations of travel content. A Home button in the middle of the head unit takes the user straight out of each menu, back to the top level menu.
    Similar to smartphones, a menu tab is integrated at the top of the screen. Opening this menu permits quick and easy access to key functions and menu items. These include vehicle functions such as opening and closing the hatch or sliding door, and menu items like “Music”, “Places”, “Images”, “Phone”, “Connected Home”, and “Videos.” Information on basic functions such as climate control and seat heating is also shown at the bottom of the display, where the all-important button for switching between different modes also resides. An “inbox“ sited to the right of the display can be used to send passenger content to the head unit. The head unit is fitted with proximity sensors that detect an approaching hand and smoothly switch its screen from display to operating mode, allowing users to scroll through audio playlists and other functionality.
    Drivers can also toggle from “Driving mode” to “Travel mode” at any given moment. The Active Info Display will continue to focus on specific navigation information, while the representation of the current route is moved to the right onto the head unit, allowing it to correspond to points of interest, which are now shown in greater detail. This functionality makes it easier and more straightforward for anyone on board to locate POIs. Meanwhile, the default displays on the Active Info Display continue to provide the driver with the most important information for the journey. Switching between modes can be done by gesture control, using the Home button, or through the redesigned multifunction steering wheel.
    e-Mirror. This feature integrates the displays of the digital wing mirrors (e-Mirror). Images come from two external cameras, which feed into multifunction displays. When stationary, the driver and front-seat passenger can also use these panels to open and close the electric doors. The display on the driver’s side is 7.9 inches in size and the front-seat passenger has a 5.9-inch screen.
    Multifunction steering wheel 3.0. Volkswagen’s new multifunction steering wheel is completely switchless, operating via haptic feedback on its smooth surfaces. Individual functions are activated by pressure, or through a swipe gesture. Touching the surface gives the driver palpable haptic “pre-sensing” feedback, allowing them to localize the function. Upon activation of a function, there is another, stronger haptic reaction, making operation more intuitive than present day solutions.
    Operation is also no longer limited to the shift paddle, but extends over the entire surface of the operating stack. Raised patterns on the buttons make it easy to find one’s way around the wheel. The driver is also given visual feedback on the selected functions by the Active Info Display. For example, the cover of the song that is currently being played is displayed in the appropriate window. At the same time, icons appear at the edges of the square window—in all four corners. These four icons (scroll up or down, sound and menu) directly match the corresponding directions of the switches on the steering wheel’s operating area, making even the most complex operating sequences simple and intuitive.
    Functions such as volume control or zooming into the navigation display can alternatively be controlled through a new touch slider. This is a further enhancement of the system presented at CES in 2015 in the Golf R Touch concept. This new stage of development is characterized by higher sensor resolution, clearly noticeable for driver and front-seat passenger alike, due to the system’s optimized precision and performance. This enables the touch slider to recognize not only the number of fingers on the slider, but their motion as well.
    Gesture control 2.0. Volkswagen has significantly enhanced the gesture control system presented in the Golf R Touch at CES in 2015. In the BUDD-e, experts from the Body Electronics division have incorporated sensor technology already capable of recognizing people as they are approaching the vehicle. For the exterior, this is accomplished through the use of infra-red sensors. An intuitive hand gesture opens the BUDD-e’s sliding door. A simple foot movement of the “Virtual Pedal 3.0” opens the electrically operated tailgate, marking a further development of the “Easy Open” function. The gesture control system inside the BUDD-e’s interior is more intuitive than ever before, with the maximum operating distance having been significantly increased. Cameras are used to register if a passenger in the rear compartment wants to open the sliding door, for instance. Interactive displays and projections also assist the driver and passengers during operation. Gestures are recognized without the gesture control system needing to be explicitly activated—as was the case in the Golf R Touch—making it an integral part of operating procedures. Volkswagen has significantly enhanced the gesture control system presented in the Golf R Touch at CES in 2015. In the BUDD-e, experts from the Body Electronics division have incorporated sensor technology already capable of recognizing people as they are approaching the vehicle. For the exterior, this is accomplished through the use of infra-red sensors. An intuitive hand gesture opens the BUDD-e’s sliding door. A simple foot movement of the “Virtual Pedal 3.0” opens the electrically operated tailgate, marking a further development of the “Easy Open” function. The gesture control system inside the BUDD-e’s interior is more intuitive than ever before, with the maximum operating distance having been significantly increased. Cameras are used to register if a passenger in the rear compartment wants to open the sliding door, for instance. Interactive displays and projections also assist the driver and passengers during operation. Gestures are recognized without the gesture control system needing to be explicitly activated—as was the case in the Golf R Touch—making it an integral part of operating procedures.
    Personalized light. Volkswagen has demonstrated how the dominant color of the display illumination and matching ambient lighting can be individually adapted using the touch slider in the Golf R Touch concept. Now, this functionality also includes opening/start-up and parking/closing of the new BUDD-e. When the car is opened, cockpit and ambient lighting bring the interior to life: when parked, standby mode is initiated. The ambient lighting system implemented in the BUDD-e is a further development of this system. While the previous application was primarily influenced by the driver and the front-seat passenger, controls now extend to the entire interior of the car. It is the first car in which ambient lighting interacts with the gesture control system, and can also be adjusted to suit the surrounding environment.
    A car for the Internet of Things
    Not only does the BUDD-e’s completely new infotainment concept make travelling more interactive and media more tangible, it also creates a link between the car and the outside world. With BUDD-e, passengers will be able to access their homes and workplaces to perform tasks such as controlling the air conditioning, turning lights on or off, or simply looking to see if their kids are home yet.
    BUDD-e will not only provide a connection to an interconnected world, but create an interactive interface to its surroundings. It is conceivable that in the near future, consumables—such as windshield wiper blades—or other kinds of personal items could not only be ordered from the car, but also delivered to it using a “Drop Box” that is accessible from the outside. The vehicle “reads” an access code to open the Drop Box for authorized parcel delivery services, using a digital key, essentially making the vehicle a mobile mailbox.
    At home on the road. Most modern day smart home functions are controlled using smartphone apps, produced by various manufacturers. Volkswagen has found a solution that allows users to access smart home functions while remaining focused on the road ahead. With App-Connect—Volkswagen’s advanced smartphone integration platform—the BUDD-e makes it possible to control certain “Connected Home” functions from the car, while driving. In cooperation with Korean electronics firm LG, Volkswagen will show how it is possible to obtain information about a smart fridge from the BUDD-e. It’s also possible to put the whole house into an energy-saving sleep mode while still in the vehicle. In the future, the BUDD-e will also automatically turn on lights in and around the house as soon as it approaches through home net automation.
    At CES, Volkswagen will demonstrate, together with the German manufacturer Doorbird, how MirrorLink™ can be used in connection with the newly developed Home-Net Viewer. The interface can display images from cameras mounted in and around the house on one of the car’s multiple screens (a function equally conceivable with future Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ applications). If a visitor rings the doorbell at home, a picture of them, taken by the home camera, is sent to the screen of the infotainment system. The functionality even makes it possible to speak to the visitor using the car’s hands-free kit and, if desired, open the door for them.
    Don’t forget anything. BUDD-e can remind its occupants if they have forgotten anything in the car, via their smart watch and/or smartphone. You can also find things in the car using “Home-Net don’t forget”. Through an inventory list, the driver or passengers can see everything that has been put in the car, and if they are still there. The intelligent “Reminder” also informs when particular items should be remembered. For example, if rain is forecast, BUDD-e will notify the driver if there is an umbrella in the car. Relevant items are fitted with a transmitter (a small sticker) in advance, making it possible for the car to locate them. The “Home-Net don’t forget” app uses an encrypted wireless interface, meaning that it is impossible for the items to be located from outside the car, or by unauthorized users.
    Smart Gesture. Volkswagen plans to become one of the first manufacturers to integrate gesture control into affordable, mass production cars. BUDD-e demonstrates a broad range of what is possible in the future. Functionality will include in-car control functions which operate certain things at home. A good example of this is the familiar “Easy Open” function, where the BUDD-e can use a laser to project a virtual footprint in front of its hatch. If an authorized user kicks this position, the hatch opens automatically. Opening the door at home will work in the same manner: BUDD-e will project a footprint in front of the door and if the person who lives there puts their foot on it, the door opens—which is very handy if you have your arms full with groceries or children.

    William Maley

    Meet Chevrolet's Fully-Electric Vehicle

    It was last January at the Detroit Auto Show when GM surprised everyone with the Chevrolet Bolt concept. Here was an electric vehicle that came with a 200 Mile range and would be affordable. Since then, GM has been hard at work getting a production model ready and at the Consumers Electronic Show tonight, the company unveiled the production Bolt.
    As we saw in spy shots last month, the production Bolt mostly looks the same as the concept. The front is similar to the Volt with a brushed grille and LED headlights wrapping around the front fenders. Around back, the LED taillights are integrated into the tailgate.
    The Bolt's interior features seating for five and a large 10.2-inch screen with the latest version of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. Interestingly, the Bolt will come with "Gamification" features that will pit Bolt drivers against each other for green driving awards or rankings as a way to improve efficiency.
    Unfortunately, details about the electric powertrain and expected range are still being kept under wraps.
    Production of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt will begin at the end of 2016 at GM's Lake Orion Assembly.
    Source: Chevrolet

    Press Release is on Page 2

    LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet is introducing the 2017 Bolt EV at the Consumer Electronics Show, fulfilling its promise to offer a long-range, affordable electric vehicle for the masses.
    The Bolt EV, which will go into production by the end of 2016, will offer more than 200 miles of range on a full charge. It also features advanced connectivity technologies designed to enhance and personalize the driving experience.
    “It was less than a year ago that we revealed the Bolt EV concept and promised to deliver a long-range electric vehicle attainable by the masses,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said. “The Bolt EV is capable of using the latest mobile app technology to enable car sharing, advanced GPS routing and gamification, all designed to enhance the ownership experience now and into the future.”
    Connectivity Simplifies Ownership Experience
    The Bolt EV benefits directly from the suggestions and ideas of Volt owners and features technologies that make owning a long-range electric vehicle easy.
    The Bolt EV’s connectivity innovations will provide smart, personalized solutions for managing the driving experience. For example, in the future an accurate driving range projection will be based on the time of day, typography, weather and the owner’s driving habits.
    Bluetooth low-energy – designed specifically for the Bolt EV to minimize energy draw – seamlessly connects a smart phone to the car while the owner approaches the vehicle.
    Many of the Bolt EV’s driver-focused technologies are supported by OnStar 4G LTE, which turns the Bolt EV into a Wi-Fi hotspot, giving owners easier access to apps and services via a high-speed wireless connection.
    Other connectivity and infotainment features include:
    10.2’’ MyLink color touch-screen displayCustomizable, widget-based “flip-board style” operation
    [*]Rear Camera Mirror
    Rear-facing camera provides a wide-angle view of the environment behind the vehicle.
    [*]Surround Vision
    Provides a bird’s-eye view of what’s around the Bolt EV for improved safety during low-speed driving and when parking.
    [*]All-New MyChevrolet Mobile App: Combines important owner and vehicle information and functions, such as:
    Vehicle charge status OnStar Map service Remote start Cabin pre-conditioning Owner’s manual information Dealer service scheduling
    [*]EV Navigation Mapping
    EV-specific navigation capability that designs routes to maximize range and provide locations of nearby charging station locations if needed.
    In the future, Bolt EV owners will be able to “compete” by comparing driving styles to determine who is driving most efficiently.

    The Bolt EV will be built at GM’s Orion (Mich.) Assembly facility, near Detroit.

    William Maley

    An Electric Concept (Some Believe A New Microbus) Will Debut At CES

    The Consumer Electronics Show in January is looking to be an interesting one for cars. GM will introduce the production version of the Chevrolet Bolt and CEO Mary Barra will do the official keynote. Volkswagen will also be showing a few things at CES, including a new concept car.
    Volkswagen says the concept "marks the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility." A teaser shot of the concept shows an illuminated grille and narrow headlights. Some believe the concept is actually a new Microbus with an EV powerplant.
    Volkswagen will also reveal some new developments on the infotainment system front.
    Source: Volkswagen

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Volkswagen at the CES 2016: The Focus is on Networking and Long-Distance Electromobility
    The starting shot for the Volkswagen brand's future initiative Dr Herbert Diess presents the keynote speech on the eve of the world's largest consumer technology trade show for digital trends and electronics development

    Wolfsburg, 11 December 2015 – In 2016 Volkswagen is once again represented at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES, which takes place from 6 - 9 January in Las Vegas/USA. Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, will be the keynote speaker on the evening before the show opens its doors. The main focus of his speech will be on the latest developments in electromobility, as well as the next generation of connectivity.

    Volkswagen will present a completely new concept car at the CES, to illustrate the major changes that the car is set to go through in the next few years. First and foremost the world premiere marks the beginning of a new era of affordable long-distance electromobility. Over and above this, innovative features will demonstrate the benefits to the customer that Volkswagen will be able to deliver in the near future thanks to the increasing interconnectedness of the motor car. As well as that, new display and operating concepts will also be making their debut in Las Vegas. For instance, Volkswagen will give quite a clear glimpse of the latest developments in in-car infotainment that are on the verge of being launched onto the market. This will see innovations such as the Golf R Touch concept car finding their way into Volkswagen's broad product portfolio.
    The CES has long been considered a reliable barometer of the key trends in digitalisation and consumer electronics. The latest products and services are presented to more than 150,000 trade visitors every January.

    William Maley

    Ford's CEO Sees A Driverless Car In Public Hands In Five Years.. Given Laws and Insurance Regulations Catch Up

    The dream of the autonomous car on public roads could be closer than many of us think. Ford's CEO Mark Fields told analysts and reporters on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show that he could see an automaker release a self-driving vehicle to the public within five years.
    “Fully autonomous vehicles are a real possibility,” said Fields. “Probably, in the next five years, you’ll see somebody introduce autonomous vehicles.”
    Audi demonstrated how far we have come in self-driving tech by having an Audi A7 equipped with the latest tech to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on its own. The vehicle was able to do 560 mile trip with no problem.
    But while technology is here, there are still a number of obstacles that automakers have to overcome with self-driving cars, such as laws and insurance details.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    OnStar is making the connected car more of a reality

    The past few years have seen Consumer Electronics Show (CES) become a stage for automakers and suppliers to show off new technologies and even vehicles. Alongside the Chevrolet Volt sneak peek, GM also announced three new technologies for their vehicles.
    First up is Chevrolet announcing a new piece of tech that will be able to predict and notify drivers when certain components need some attention. This is possible by the OnStar 4G LTE system that newer Chevrolet vehicles are being shipped with. Sensors in the vehicle will send data to GM where servers will be able to predict when a part will fail and notify the owner via email, text message, in-vehicle alerts or through the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app.
    “This is a new chapter in our pursuit to provide customers with convenience and the best overall service in the industry. Using our innovative OnStar 4G LTE connectivity platform, we can actively monitor vehicle component health and notify our customers if covered vehicle components need attention. Nobody else in the industry is offering this,” said Alicia Boler-Davis, General Motors senior vice president of Global Connected Customer Experience.
    The system will be available in Chevrolet vehicles in the 2016 model year. For the time being, the system will only be able to battery, starter motor and fuel pump; though the company is planning to add more parts in the future.
    Along with this change, GM also announced that its OnStar RemoteLink app will get the ability to send a monthly report to owners, outlining key details such as the vehicle’s tire pressure, oil life, and other key maintenance information.
    Next, OnStar announced AtYourService. This feature allows drivers to find local deals and make connections with merchants from their car.
    Launching this year in the U.S. and Canada, AtYourService has teamed up with the likes Dunkin’ Donuts, Priceline.com, RetailMeNot.com, and Entertainment Book to provide deals and information. If a driver using OnStar asks for directions to a point of interest and it has applicable deal or connection to one of its partners, an OnStar advisor can send the info right to the vehicle.
    “On the heels of our 4G LTE connectivity launch last year, OnStar will continually roll out powerful, simple ways to bring daily-relevant connected vehicle features like AtYourService to complement our foundation of safety and security technology. We will continue to innovate in ways that make our customers’ time on the road more efficient and more convenient,” said Mark Lloyd, consumer online officer for OnStar.
    The last announcement is for a new service that will track your driving driving habits during a 90 day span. After 90 days, OnStar will send feedback about how you drive and how you can become a safer driver. If you happen to have Progressive as your insurance provider, you can send that information to lower your insurance rate. Now the important item about this system is that you have the choice to opt in.
    "The driver assessment is meant to help people better understand how they drive and give them feedback on how to be better, smarter drivers. This is the first time we can use actual driving behavior to deliver valuable important feedback to customers who want this information. This new service truly shows the power of the connected car. The beauty of this program is that control is in the hands of the customer. If they wish to participate, we’ll inform them of their driving behavior and then they’re able to choose if they want to share their information with Progressive,” said Greg Ross, director of Business Development and Alliances, Global Connected Consumer Experience, General Motors.
    Source: General Motors
    Press Releases on Page 2
    Chevrolet Opens New Chapter for Driver Assurance
    Customers will soon drive vehicles that can predict future service needs

    DETROIT – Chevrolet is using advanced connected vehicle technology to give customers an unprecedented level of assurance in their vehicles later this year. This industry-leading prognostic technology can predict and notify drivers when certain components need attention – in many cases before vehicle performance is impacted.
    The predictive technology is initially focused on the battery, starter motor and fuel pump, all critical to starting and keeping a vehicle running. Additional vehicle parts and components are expected to be added in future model years.
    “This is a new chapter in our pursuit to provide customers with convenience and the best overall service in the industry,” said Alicia Boler-Davis, General Motors senior vice president, Global Connected Customer Experience. “Using our innovative OnStar 4G LTE connectivity platform, we can actively monitor vehicle component health and notify our customers if covered vehicle components need attention. Nobody else in the industry is offering this.”
    Building on the 15-year history of connected vehicle technology through OnStar, the prognostic service relies on OnStar 4G LTE to provide data streams from sensors within the vehicle. When a customer has enrolled their properly equipped vehicle in this service, the data is sent to OnStar’s secure servers and proprietary algorithms are applied to assess whether certain conditions could impact vehicle performance. When indicated, notifications are sent to the customer via email, text message, in-vehicle alerts or through the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app.
    This service is expected to be available on select 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, Tahoe, Suburban, Corvette, Silverado and Silverado HD models equipped with certain powertrains, followed by more Chevrolet vehicles throughout the 2016 model year.
    Prognostic capability is the latest advancement in a suite of services that will keep Chevrolet customers informed from the first day of ownership through many years into the future.
    Another Advancement in Vehicle Diagnostics
    Chevrolet customers with an active OnStar connection today can monitor tire pressure, oil life and other key data points via the OnStar RemoteLink smartphone app or through a monthly diagnostic email sent from the vehicle.
    In 2016, Chevrolet is adding a new capability, which allows customers to check these key data points continuously, without having to wait for their monthly email. Keeping a vehicle’s tires filled to the recommended pressure and keeping vital systems well-maintained can lower fuel costs and extend a vehicle’s life.
    Together, Chevrolet’s advanced diagnostic and prognostic capabilities will keep owners more informed and empowered to make every trip confidently through years of ownership.
    OnStar AtYourService Brings Commerce to Connected Cars
    Offers hotel booking and delivers incentives from restaurants and retailers

    DETROIT – At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, OnStar will preview AtYourService, a commerce and engagement offering that connects drivers with retailers and merchants on their drive, providing information, convenience and money-saving values tied to their specific destinations. In addition, OnStar advisors can now help locate hotels and book reservations.
    AtYourService will roll out in the U.S. and Canada, where OnStar annually receives more than 35 million requests for directions and supports more than 53 million mobile app interactions. Building on these direct connections and adding more daily relevance for subscribers, OnStar has signed initial relationships with partners like Dunkin’ Donuts and Priceline.com.
    Digital coupon providers RetailMeNot and Entertainment Book will supply retail and shopping coupons. Parkopedia will serve data for parking nationwide, and Audiobooks.com will supply e-book content to drivers on the road. When a driver requests directions to a point of interest that has an applicable deal or connection to one of its partners, the OnStar advisor can send the special offer from that merchant.
    “On the heels of our 4G LTE connectivity launch last year, OnStar will continually roll out powerful, simple ways to bring daily-relevant connected vehicle features like AtYourService to complement our foundation of safety and security technology,” said Mark Lloyd, consumer online officer for OnStar. “We will continue to innovate in ways that make our customers’ time on the road more efficient and more convenient.”
    Said Scott Hudler, vice president, Global Consumer Engagement for Dunkin’ Donuts: “We can’t think of a more exciting and targeted way to connect with our guests than when they are in their vehicles looking for a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant. We’ll bring value to GM drivers while driving those consumers to our stores with instant incentives.”
    Also beginning in early 2015, active subscribers with the full-service plan will be able to book a hotel through an OnStar advisor. Partnering with Priceline.com, OnStar advisors can provide information on availability, cost, amenities, and ratings, then book a hotel reservation and send directions to the vehicle.
    Subscribers can give advisors the general location where they would like to stay and advisors can select from Priceline’s participating hotels in that area. After booking a hotel, customers receive an email confirmation of their reservation. The service provides a simple way to find on-the-go accommodations while drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. In a pilot program, nine out of 10 subscribers said they would book their last-minute hotel needs through OnStar again.
    “We were seeing a growing segment of our business, with Priceline users making same-day reservations for hotels while driving in their cars,” said Randy Schartner, president of The Priceline Partner Network. “Making Priceline hotels available to drivers through OnStar in a safe and secure way is great way for Priceline consumers and GM drivers to become one and the same.”
    This new service will continue to grow over time with new capabilities and more partnerships.
    “By delivering relevant connections, interactions, offers and services based on our subscribers’ needs, we are laying the foundation for a truly cohesive experience,” said OnStar’s Lloyd. ”Our hope is that OnStar AtYourService will help transform the way businesses and consumers interact in connected vehicles.”
    OnStar to Offer Driving Feedback; Customers can Seek Insurance Discounts
    Progressive® Insurance to offer discounts for consenting driver data use

    DETROIT – Beginning this summer, OnStar will offer customers the opportunity to sign up for a new service that can tell them how well they drive and provide some customers an opportunity to seek discounts from Progressive Insurance.
    The new connected vehicle service will allow OnStar customers a chance to enroll in a program that provides a detailed driving assessment at the end of a 90-day evaluation period. The assessment, provided only to OnStar customers who sign up for this service, will reveal how the customer performed in important driving metrics, comparing that customer against an aggregate of other anonymous enrolled customers. Driving tips will be provided by OnStar based on a customer’s individual assessment characteristics.
    After the assessment, some customers can choose to share their driving data and evaluation information with Progressive through its Snapshot® program, potentially leading to discounted insurance offers. This information sharing will be entirely voluntary following advanced consent from customers.
    “The driver assessment is meant to help people better understand how they drive and give them feedback on how to be better, smarter drivers,” said Greg Ross, director, Business Development and Alliances, Global Connected Consumer Experience, General Motors. “This is the first time we can use actual driving behavior to deliver valuable important feedback to customers who want this information. This new service truly shows the power of the connected car.
    “The beauty of this program is that control is in the hands of the customer,” said Ross. “If they wish to participate, we’ll inform them of their driving behavior and then they’re able to choose if they want to share their information with Progressive.”
    Progressive® Insurance is the first insurance company that will use OnStar data to evaluate actual driving behavior, subject to explicit customer consent, to offer driving-based insurance discounts.
    “We are looking beyond traditional expectations of car makers and insurance providers, toward helping people be smarter drivers,” said Dave Pratt, general manager of usage-based insurance at Progressive. “Providing drivers with feedback benefits consumers by making them more aware of their driving behavior, saving them money and keeping the roads safer. This program makes it easier than ever for consumers to take advantage of the latest in-car technology and the leading usage-based insurance program.”
    The smart driver assessment program is expected to be available for all 2016 GM models, most 2015 models, and select 2013 and 2014 models, starting this summer. The program is only expected to be available for U.S. drivers at this time.
    OnStar customers currently are able to receive low mileage discount offers through other insurance companies. These low mileage programs, however, do not require the collection or use of driver assessment data.

    William Maley

    The F 015 Luxury in Motion is a Self-Driving vehicle concept from Mercedes-Benz

    Mercedes-Benz used the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to reveal a fully autonomous concept called F 015 Luxury in Motion.
    The F 015 Luxury in Motion concept is quite the odd looker. With proportions of 205 inches long, 79 inches wide, and 59 inches tall, and a overall design that places it in sci-fi flicks from the eighties. But the odd looks do have a purpose. Step inside and the F 015 features seating for four people in a living room atmosphere. The seats swing outwards by 30 degrees to allow for easier entry or exiting of the vehicle. The dashboard is comprised of a large touchscreen and a steering wheel that retracts when the vehicle is in the autonomous mode. There's also four additional screens are integrated into the door panels.
    Other key parts of the F 015 Luxury in Motion include large LED light modules at the front and rear which allows the vehicle to to communicate and interact with the outside world, and a hydrogen-electric powertrain.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz

    Press Release is on Page 2
    The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion
    Forerunner of a mobility revolution

    January 06, 2015 - Las Vegas/Stuttgart
    With the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE and the Future Truck 2025, Mercedes-Benz has already made the vision of autonomous driving reality. The new research vehicle F 015 Luxury in Motion has its world premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show, and provides a concrete example of the visionary ideas the company is developing with regard to autonomous driving of the future. With this self-driving luxury sedan Mercedes-Benz illustrates how the car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a private retreating space. This new way of traveling gives passengers the freedom to use their valuable time on the road in manifold ways.
    Progressing from the self-propelled ("automotive") to the self-reliant ("autonomous") vehicle, Mercedes-Benz as a pioneer goes far beyond the purely technical realization of automated driving. The company's experts also have to anticipate different outlooks and social trends. People are always at the center of such considerations. Just as the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car and its successors revolutionized personal mobility and, as a consequence, society as a whole, the first self-driving cars will also bring about major changes.
    "Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society. The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space," explains Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
    Expressive forerunner of a mobility revolution
    With the huge amount of space in its lounge-like interior, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion takes the concepts of comfort and luxury to a new level. Every facet of the vehicle reflects perfectly the Mercedes way of interpreting the terms "modern luxury", emotion and intelligence. This innovative four-seater is a forerunner of a mobility revolution, and this is immediately apparent from its futuristic appearance.
    It is obvious that the F 015 represents the vision of a brand new vehicle concept just from its unusual proportions (length/width/height: 5220/2018/1524 millimeters), its seamless, monolithic exterior and its large LED light modules at the front and rear. A range of different lighting functions can be provided through these LED fields. At the same time, the vehicle communicates and interacts with the outside world by means of the LED fields. These LED fields show for example, if the F 015 is driving autonomously (blue) or is controlled manually (white).
    The low-slung front end, smooth and streamlined roof line, flat front windshield and road-hugging rear end give the F 015 Luxury in Motion an extended and decidedly dynamic silhouette. The F 015 Luxury in Motion's unusually large wheelbase of 3610 millimeters in combination with its short overhangs clearly show that the design focus was on providing the maximum possible space for the passengers.
    A lounge-like interior with an atmosphere of wellbeingIn the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion the designers have created a lounge-like space with a feel-good ambience characterized by elegance, quality and lightness. Sensual, flowing transitions and warm, organic materials such as open-pore walnut wood shaped into a three-dimensional veneer, and extremely soft ice white nappa leather contrast with clearly-defined metal and glass surfaces with a cool and technical feel.
    The pivotal feature of the innovative interior concept is the variable seating system, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration. In order to make getting in and out of the car easier, the electrically powered seats also swing outwards by 30 degrees as soon as the doors are opened. If necessary, the driver and front-seat passenger can also turn their eyes and attention towards the front – a prerequisite for manual driving. To this end the steering wheel extends automatically from the dashboard.
    The leather-covered cushions of the lounge chairs are set in curved mounts of highly-polished aluminium. Each seating mount has a contrasting light band of blue LED lights and can also be manually swiveled.
    One key aspect of the research vehicle is the continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers and the outside world. This is facilitated by six display screens harmoniously integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels, which turn the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion into a digital arena. Passengers can interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or by touching the high-resolution screens. Sensors recognize the passengers' hands and offer them user interfaces within convenient reach that present appropriate operating options for each particular situation. Particle streams on the displays visualize the vehicle's movement.
    Revolutionary vehicle structure
    The high-strength body of the F 015 Luxury in Motion ensures optimum safety and supreme comfort for its passengers. At the same time, the bodyshell's structure provides the ideal basis for the door concept that makes getting in and out especially easy, and for the communication-oriented seating featuring four lounge chairs in a face-to-face arrangement.
    New materials and structures were used to develop the highly efficient "Smart Body Structure (SBS)" of the F 015. By cleverly combining carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and high-strength steels in a way that matches the varying requirements exactly, the lightweight engineering experts were able to make the bodyshell 40 percent lighter compared with today's production vehicles.
    Another key element of the body design concept is the innovative saloon-door-style door system featuring rear-hinged rear doors. The front and rear doors can be opened and closed independently of one another. With an opening angle of 90 degrees for all doors, the spacious interior can be easily and comfortably accessed on both sides. B-pillars were not needed. A very sturdy interconnected system with mechanical locking elements ensures exemplary safety standards. These elements securely interlock the front and rear doors when they are closed at the same time as fixing them firmly to the roof frame and side skirts. The resulting composite load path allows an extremely high amount of energy to be absorbed in the event of frontal or side impact, with minimal intrusion into the passenger compartment.
    The doors themselves have a crucial role to play in the vehicle's passive safety concept. The crash-responsive beltlines underneath the side windows are vital here. The PRE-SAFE Structure, previously unveiled on the ESF 2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle and now further enhanced, offers maximum safety while taking up minimum space: in a side-on collision, these bodywork elements "inflate" in an instant, just like an airbag, allowing them to absorb as much impact energy as possible.
    In addition, the bodyshell of the F 015 Luxury in Motion was designed to allow the impact-protected integration of an electric drive system with fuel cell. This is based on the pioneering F-CELL PLUG-IN HYBRID system seen in the F 125! research vehicle from 2011, and combines on-board generation of electricity with an exceptionally powerful and compact high-voltage battery. The pressure tank made from CFRP is designed to store the hydrogen.
    The vision: greater quality of life for all city dwellersAs a foundation for creating the F 015 Luxury in Motion, experts from all areas of Mercedes-Benz developed a future scenario entitled "City of the Future 2030+", which considered many aspects of mobile living.
    The greater the advance of urbanization, the greater is the desire of the individual to be able to retreat to a private sphere. Autonomous driving will become a given. As drivers are relieved of work and stress in situations in which driving is not enjoyable, the time gained while in their car takes on a whole new quality. Time and space will become the luxury of the future.
    New technologies and forms of communication open up numerous new possibilities for interaction, both between the vehicle and its passengers and between the vehicle and other road users.
    Autonomous cars also open up new possibilities for urban infrastructure design. Following the example of today's low-emission zones in city centers, special "safety zones" that are only accessible to autonomous vehicles could be created. Urban space would be regained by autonomous vehicles parking themselves on the periphery.
    In the shared space of the future, humans and machines share the roads. The "car-friendly city" is transformed increasingly into the "people-friendly city" without any loss of individual freedom. The divide between residential, recreational and traffic areas therefore melts away. The result is superior quality of life for all urban dwellers.
    The road to autonomous driving
    Even now, vehicles from Mercedes-Benz are capable of detecting many different hazardous situations out on the road and reacting as the situation demands – by means of autonomous braking, for instance. And from the C-Class through to the S-Class, there are already Mercedes-Benz models driving semi-autonomously on public roads today, equipped with features such as DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and the Stop&Go Pilot semi-autonomous traffic jam vehicle following function. Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC allows automated parking with active steering and brake control in both parallel and end-on spaces.
    In August 2013, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated to great effect that autonomous driving is possible now, even in complex urban and rural traffic situations. The close-to-production Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE completed the approximately 100-kilometer journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim fully autonomously, following the route Bertha Benz took in 1888 on the first ever long-distance drive by car.
    Mercedes-Benz is setting the pace of development in the area of trucks, too – as the innovator and launcher of intelligent assistance systems. With its Future Truck 2025, the brand presented the world's first truck to feature autonomous driving at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in September 2014. In July 2014, this one-off vehicle, based on the Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845, drove at speeds of up to 80 km/h in realistic traffic situations on a section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg.
    As a global company, Mercedes-Benz has its sights set on autonomous driving worldwide. In order to factor in the differences in traffic and infrastructure in other markets, the experts also carry out testing in the USA, for example. In mid-September 2014, Mercedes-Benz became one of the first automotive manufacturers to be issued with an official license by the US state of California for testing self-driving vehicles on public roads there. In addition the company makes use of the USA's largest test facility, the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS).

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