“Hyundai Motor is already leading in future mobility solutions,” says Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President Marketing and Product at Hyundai Motor Europe. “By launching our All-New Kona Electric, we are pushing our ambitious eco car strategy forward. It's a car of no compromise – combining an SUV body type with electric-mobility. It represents Hyundai’s progressive character. With Hyundai Motor, the future is now!”

Established SUV brand with a progressive mind set

The All-New Kona Electric is the latest addition to the successful family reinforcing the company’s leadership in the eco-car segment. It merges the strengths of SUV with the power of electric powertrains. Hyundai is the first automotive brand in Europe to make a fully-electric small SUV available to everyone. By already offering the broadest range of powertrains, Hyundai is at the forefront of eco-mobility. The company marketed the first mass-produced fuel-cell vehicle, the ix35 Fuel Cell, and recently introduced its successor, the All-New NEXO. Additionally, the IONIQ is the first car available with three different electric powertrains in one body type. Winning several prestigious accolades from media and industry organisations, the IONIQ is one of the most awarded eco-cars in Europe. The success story of Hyundai’s SUV range began 17 years ago with the launch of the Santa Fe. Since 2001 Hyundai has sold more than 1.5 million units of Santa Fe, Grand Santa Fe, Tucson and All-New Kona in Europe. They all carry the dynamic, progressive style of Hyundai and make it an established brand in this still-growing segment.

A car of no compromise

The All-New Kona Electric enables customers to combine the two fastest growing automotive trends – electrification and SUV style and carries the same expressive design and functionality of the regular Kona. The fully-electric version reflects the individual lifestyle of modern customers who benefit from great fun-to-drive and the low environmental impact of a fully-electric car. The completely new platform of the Kona enables a space-saving integration of the battery packs without compromising the roominess.

The power of All-New Kona Electric

The All-New Kona Electric features two different powertrain versions, offering customers one of the most powerful electric motors. The long-range battery version provides driving range of up to 470km*, delivering a maximum output of 150kW. With a battery capacity of 39.2 kWh, the basic version drives up to 300km* on a single charge with the motor delivering 99 kW. With 395Nm of immediate torque and an acceleration of 7.6 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, the All-New Kona Electric provides a fun-to-drive experience.

Progressive design

The All-New Kona Electric adopts the expressive-looking and powerful front from the regular Kona. The key design differentiator is the closed grille which gives a clean and stylish appearance, while also enhancing aerodynamics. Another characteristic element of the front design is the Composite Light enhancing the visual impact, with the LED Daytime Running Lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. The Kona Electric’s two-tone roof and the choice of seven distinctive exterior colours underline the personal style of its driver.

Electric drive feeling

A special feature of the All-New Kona Electric is the shift-by-wire operation gear control which enables an intuitive operation of the electric powertrain. The adjustable regenerative braking system allows the driver to adjust the intensity of the regenerative braking by using the paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. The system recuperates additional energy when possible. Drivers also benefit from the large seven-inch supervision cluster, which displays key information about the car’s driving performance and, in addition, the combiner head-up display shows relevant driving information directly to the driver’s line of sight.

Connected and caring

The All-New Kona Electric offers a wide range of connectivity features, such as the infotainment system which integrates navigation, media and connectivity features, e.g. Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ as well as Wireless Charging. The new eco-model in Hyundai’s line-up is equipped with the company’s latest active safety and driving assistance technologies, called SmartSense: Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Detection including Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Driver Attention Warning and Speed Limit Information Function.

Design

The All-New Kona Electric is the next SUV in Hyundai’s product line-up which links up with the new SUV family appearance while adding the progressive character to the small SUV segment. With this upcoming electric SUV, Hyundai is taking the next major step towards making advanced technology and modern design accessible to everyone.

Exterior Design

The All-New Kona Electric is characterised by its distinctive high-contrast fender cladding and the muscular surfaces atop a stable, wide stance. The key design elements at the front are the closed grille as well as the Composite Light. They create the car’s progressive appearance with LED daytime running lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. To enhance the progressive SUV look of the front, it features a distinctive lamp bezel and front bumper. Lateral air curtains at the front bumper enhance the aerodynamics by reducing turbulences in the wheel arch area.

The profile of the All-New Kona Electric reflects an eye-catching and agile character. The sleek profile with short rear overhangs and wing-type bumpers underline the forward motion of the car. The roof rack enhances the sleek roof line and supports the active lifestyle of customers, for example by mounting a roof carrier. To further enhance the refined character, the All-New Kona Electric features silver side sills, adding a slightly elegant touch to the sporty SUV.

The design theme of the front is picked up at the rear with the rear bumper and a lamp bezel on the slim LED rear lights. Wrap-around claddings with integrated indicator and reversing lights additionally emphasise the progressive design of the All-New Kona Electric. The rear spoiler features an integrated LED brake light. With the width of 1,800mm and low stance of 1,570mm (+20mm compared with the regular Kona), the All-New Kona Electric has a bold appearance on the road, further enhanced by the dedicated 17’’ alloy wheels. The car’s stance is further supported by its length of 4,180mm (+15mm compared with the regular Kona) and a wheelbase of 2,600mm.

The All-New Kona Electric is available with a two-tone roof, offering a wide variety of individual choices to match the customer’s style. Seven exterior colours in total can be combined with three roof colours for a total of 21 stylings. The roof and exterior mirrors can be chosen in Phantom Black, Dark Knight and Chalk White. The exterior colours are available in Chalk White, Dark Knight, Tangerine Comet, Ceramic Blue, Pulse Red, Acid Yellow and All-New Galactic Grey.

Interior Design

For the interior, customers can choose Black, available in woven, a combination of cloth and leather or pure leather. As an option, there is the three-tone Blue and Grey interior colour available with cloth and leather or leather. Most prominent is the dedicated centre console in the All-New Kona Electric, which combines all the buttons to facilitate operation of the car intuitively with the shift-by-wire gear control. An extra storage space for personal items can be found underneath the centre console.

The new high-resolution seven-inch supervision cluster displays the different gauges, such as the speedometer, battery charge level, energy flow and driving mode to the driver. Depending on the selected drive mode, background colour and gauges are adapted to always provide the most important and useful information. In addition, the head-up display (HUD) projects the relevant driving information directly to the driver’s line of sight. This allows faster processing of information while keeping attention on the road ahead.

With a projected image size of eight inches at two metres distance and a luminance of more than 10,000 candela per square metre, the new head-up display guarantees optimal visibility in different light conditions. The angle and height of the head-up display can be adjusted to ensure ideal visibility for individual needs. Once activated via the button beside the steering wheel, the HUD deploys vertically and disappears into the dashboard when not in use. While driving, the HUD supports safe driving by displaying information, such as speed, navigation commands and fuel level as well as safety-related warnings from assistance systems, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Speed Limit Information Function and Driver Attention Warning. Information about the audio mode and radio are also projected.

The All-New Kona Electric offers several features for maximum on-board comfort, such as the power front seats with 8-way electric adjustment for optimal seating positions for each front passenger. The driver benefits from an additional 2-way electric lumbar support system. Furthermore, the front seats have a 3-step ventilation and 3-step heating system for a convenient drive in different weather conditions. Another convenience feature for cold weather conditions is the optional heated steering wheel.

Plenty of space is offered to both passengers and luggage. The legroom in the first row is 1,054mm, while passengers in the back seat benefit from 850mm of legroom. The headroom accounts for 1,006mm in the front and 948mm in the rear. Luggage space totalling 332l, including storage of the charging cable (373l without), offers generous roominess, making it suitable for everyday needs.

Driving Performance

Driving the All-New Kona Electric is an uncompromising statement about a clean mobility – an objective Hyundai is highly committed to - by remaining true to oneself through driving a stylish, bold SUV. The choice of two different powertrains again strengthens the uncompromising character of the car. Hyundai decided to use a lithium-ion polymer battery pack for the All-New Kona Electric instead of conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries. This provides lower memory sensitivity and excellent charge and discharge efficiency, along with outstanding maximum output.

Powertrains 

The All-New Electric offers pure e-mobility with two different powertrains. The long-range version with the 64kWh battery provides an electric range of up to 470km* and an energy consumption of 15.2kWh/100km (internal target under WLTP regulations). The electric motor delivers an output of 150kW, accelerating the All-New Kona Electric to 100kph in impressive 7.6 seconds.

With a battery capacity of 39.2kWh, the basic version drives you up to 300km* on a single charge with the motor delivering 99kW and an energy consumption as low as 14.8kWh/100km (internal target under WLTP regulations). Both powertrain versions deliver 395Nm of immediate torque, offering the driver of Kona Electric great fun-to-drive, having the full power available from the first second, providing a maximum speed of 167km/h.

The shift-by-wire gear control system enables operation of the car simply by pressing buttons to switch driving modes. It also eliminates the routing space required for housing the mechanical linkages between a normal shifter and the transmission, providing additional storage space in the front of the car.

The fully-electric small SUV made by Hyundai also features an electronic parking brake (EPB) at the command of the driver’s fingertips. Charging the lithium-ion polymer battery up to 80 per cent only takes about 54 minutes using a 100kW direct current (DC) fast charger. With the 7.2kW on-board-charger, charging with alternating current (AC) takes 9 hours 40 minutes for the long-range battery pack and 6 hours 10 minutes for the shorter-range battery pack. Drivers also have the option of charging their car at a compatible regular household power socket using the ICCB-cable (in-cable control box). The charging port is located in the vehicle’s front next to the Hyundai logo.

Connect and Caring

To suit customer’s varied lifestyles, the All-New Kona Electric contains advanced connectivity and navigation features. To enhance seamless integration of the driver’s smartphone, making operation more intuitive and safe while driving, the car is equipped with the Display Audio system, which is available with Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and Bluetooth connectivity. This way, users can control their music, telephone or navigation functions on the seven-inch capacitive colour LCD touchscreen, while remaining focused on the road.

The Display Audio system also includes a rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines. Additionally, the seven-inch information screen is located in the centre of the instrument cluster between the two dials – a standard for Kona Electric. Customers also have the option to choose the eight-inch navigation system, offering the same connectivity features with Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and Bluetooth.

Wireless inductive charging

To ensure that occupants’ phones are always charged, the All-New Kona Electric also provides a wireless inductive charging pad (Qi standard) for mobile phones. The phone’s charging status is visualised with a small indicator lamp above. To ensure that the phone will not be forgotten inside the car, the central display in the instrument cluster shows a reminder when switching off the car.

For further connection of devices, the All-New Kona Electric comes standard with a USB port and an AUX jack.

High-end sound system by Krell

Today’s customers like to listen to their favourite soundtrack in their car, for this reason the All-New Kona Electric offers a high-end sound system by audio manufacturer Krell, featuring eight speakers including two 20mm tweeters, four 160mm woofer speakers, one 100mm centre speaker and a 200mm subwoofer speaker. The eight-channel amplifier delivers 45W per channel to maximise the audio experience inside the car.

Hyundai SmartSense: Highest level of active safety

The All-New Kona Electric features Hyundai SmartSense active safety and driving assistance technologies, to comply with the highest European safety standards: Cruise Control - Smart Adaptive Speed Control with Stop & Go function, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keep Assist, Blind-Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Driver Attention Warning and Speed Limit Information Function.

Cruise Control – Smart Adaptive Speed Control with Stop & Go

Using front radar sensors, Smart Adaptive Speed Control with Stop & Go keeps a constant speed and distance from the vehicle ahead by automatically accelerating and braking. If traffic comes to a halt, the Stop & Go system applies the brake until the car comes to a standstill and accelerates to the desired speed as soon as the road is clear. If the vehicle stops for longer than three seconds, the driver has to activate the system again with the steering wheel controls or by briefly pressing the accelerator pedal. The system operates from 0 to 180 km/h.

Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection

The All-New Kona Electric is fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, an advanced active safety feature that alerts drivers to emergency situations, braking automatically if required. Using front radar and camera sensors, AEB operates in three stages. Initially warning the driver visually and acoustically, it controls the brake according to the collision danger level, and applies maximum braking force to avoid a collision or minimise damage when a collision is unavoidable. The system is activated when a vehicle or pedestrian is sensed in front of the car, operating at speeds of 8km/h or above.

Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keep Assist (LKAS) 

The Lane Departure Warning System with Lane Keeping Assist alerts the driver in unsafe movements at over 60km/h by sensing the car’s position. The Lane Departure Warning System sounds an alarm before the car moves over white, grey and blue lines as well as cats eyes on the road, while the Lane Keep Assist warns the driver acoustically and visually before inducing corrective steering to guide the driver back to a safe position.

Lane Following Assist (LFA)

The system assists the driver to keep the centre of the lane by controlling the steering. It works from a standstill up to speeds of 150km/h on both highways and inter-urban roads.

Blind-Spot Detection (BSD)

Also using radar, the Blind-Spot Detection (BCD) monitors the rear corners and, if another vehicle is detected, a visual alert appears on the exterior mirrors. If the driver then activates the indicators, an audible signal is emitted. This also applies to lane change situations in which a vehicle is detected.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)

Using the rear corner radar, the Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW) reduces the risk of collision with approaching traffic when reversing out of narrow areas with low visibility. Using radar to scan a 180-degree area behind the vehicle for approaching cross traffic, RCCW alerts the driver visually and audibly.

Driver Attention Warning (DAW) 

The Driver Attention Warning (DAW) raises safety and convenience to an entirely new level by continuously monitoring and analysing driving patterns through data inputs, such as the steering angle, steering torque and vehicle position in the traffic lane. When a pattern of fatigue/distraction is identified, DAW gets the driver’s attention with an audible alert and pop-up message suggesting a break.

Speed Limit Information Function

The Speed Limit Information Function uses the front camera and information from the navigation system to identify road speed signs and displays the speed limit in real time. The information is displayed in both the navigation system display and the TFT cluster.

High Beam Assist

The headlamps are available with state-of-the-art LED technology, pairing daylight-like illumination with a long lifetime and significantly lower energy consumption than halogen lights. When switched to automatic mode, High Beam Assist (HBA) detects both oncoming vehicles and vehicles in the same lane ahead at night, and changes to low-beam as appropriate, reducing blinding effects on other drivers. Whenever there are no vehicles detected, the system automatically reactivates the high beam. The static cornering lights turns additional cornering lamps on and off according to the vehicle speed and steering angle.

Highest Passive Safety

The All-New Kona Electric benefits from superior rigidity through the application of high strength steel, high impact energy absorption and minimised distortion, in order to protect passengers in the event of a collision.

Thanks to an enlarged area for the appliance of hot stamping and a ring-shaped cabin shell structure with ultra-high-strength steel, the safety zone has been enlarged for top crashworthiness. The multi load-pass structure of the cabin disperses energy in various directions in the event of a collision and reduces the impact.

Around the interior of the Kona Electric a total of six airbags are installed (two front airbags, two side airbags and two curtain airbags from first to second row, protecting both driver and passengers).

Note:

*CO2 emissions and fuel consumption based on internal targets under WLTP regulations.
All vehicle specifications and technical data relate to the European market.

The BMW i3 electric vehicle range has been expanded to four with the introduction of two additional variants that feature significantly increased battery capacity and range capability. As per the existing variants, the updated i3 is available in two versions: the Battery Electric Vehicle (EV) and the Range Extender.

“BMW remains at the forefront of providing e-mobility solutions, and the upgraded battery package of the latest BMW i3 is proof of this,” said BMW Australia Managing Director Marc Werner. “It reinforces the BMW i brand’s innovative strength and builds on the positive reactions drawn from the recently-launched iPerformance vehicles; products that directly benefit from the work done at BMW i.”

Updated BMW i3 range pricing:

BMW i3: $63,900*
BMW i3 with Range Extender: $69,900*
BMW i3 94Ah Electric Vehicle: $65,900*
BMW i3 94Ah with Range Extender: $71,900*

New battery increases capacity and range capability while improving efficiency

The new i3s embody the BMW i engineering team’s latest thinking on innovative EV technology.

The increased battery capacity of 94 Ampere-hours (hence the name) has been realised despite unchanged exterior dimensions, proving the progress made on lithium-ion battery technology by BMW and technology partner Samsung SDI, as well as the future-focused, adaptable design of the i3’s CFRP architecture. As before, the vehicle is designed to allow a single battery module to be exchanged if a fault is detected. If a fault develops, this saves cost and time over a complete battery replacement. This is a stand-alone feature within the competitive field and represents an integral component of the holistic BMW i concept of sustainability.

The BMW i3 94Ah continues to score significantly better than a modern diesel or petrol-engined car in the overall CO2 balance consisting of supply chain, production, service life and recycling. In the updated i3 application, the high-voltage battery consists of eight modules with twelve storage cells each. Cooled via the air-conditioning’s coolant system, the cell-internal packages have been optimised with increased electrolytes and the resultant gross battery energy has been increased to 33kWh, of which 27kWh can be effectively used. For reference, the existing i3’s 60Ah capacity produces 22kWh gross and with 19kWh of useable energy.

For the new i3 94Ah in EV form, the NEDC cycle range rated at 310km, while real-world range in everyday conditions – using equipment such as air-conditioning and the audio system – is up to 200km. Electricity consumption is 12.6kWh/100km. Opting for the new i3 94Ah Range Extender increases the NEDC-rated range to 390km, thanks to the addition of a two-cylinder petrol-powered combustion engine. This translates to a real-world figure of 320km.

Fuel consumption as per NEDC is 0.6L/100km on the combined cycle, with 11.3kWh electricity consumption. Customers receive an eight-year or 100,000km battery warranty, whichever comes first. The battery pack is also designed to last the entirety of the i3 94Ah’s service life. 

Charging options to suit your lifestyle

For the Australian market, the BMW i3 94Ah is capable of being charged through a ‘Type 1’ connector, the standard used by the majority of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in this country. BMW Group Australia recommends the BMW i customers install a BMW i Wallbox Pure (available through BMW Genuine Accessories) for the most effective home charging solution. This system allows for up to 3.7kW of charging at 16 amps, allowing the i3’s upgraded 94Ah battery pack to be conveniently charged at your home or office. Using this method, a charge from zero to 80 per cent battery capacity can be accomplished in less than eight hours.

Via BMW’s 360° ELECTRIC program and its partnership with ChargePoint, i3 94Ah owners can access ChargePoint public charging facilities. Many of these facilities can be used free-of-charge, though a supplied ChargeNow card also supplies a cashless payment option where required.

This arrangement allows access to charging power of up to 7.4kW at 32 amps, for super-efficient charging – an 80 per cent charge is completed in around four hours. An Occasional Use Cable is supplied as standard and enables charging via a domestic socket. Default charging power is set at 1.4kW at 6 amps, with a maximum of 1.8kW at 8 amps. Expected charge time (to 80 per cent) is set at 14 hours via this method.

Also fitted as standard is DC Rapid Charging capability, ensuring the BMW i3 94Ah will be fully compatible with future DC charging infrastructure that will be capable of charge rates up to 50kWh.

Exceptional agility, impressive acceleration 

At the core of the BMW i3 94Ah is the innovative carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) architecture. The CFRP Life module reduces the i3 94Ah’s weight by some 350kg over a comparable steel design, aiding efficiency, range, agility and performance. The new i3 94Ah’s synchronous electric motor generates 125kW of power with an instantaneous 250Nm of torque. Drive is taken to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission that enables uninterrupted torque delivery to the limited 150km/h top speed. Weighing 1245kg, the latest i3 sprints to 100km/h in only 7.3 seconds, and its performance is delivered with a smooth efficiency that is unique to the BMW i3.

Opting for the Range Extender adds an efficient 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine, located above the rear axle and generating 28kW. This operates a generator to produce electricity and operates on a needs base, extending total range by 120 kilometres in everyday operation. Fed by a nine-litre fuel tank, the Range Extender tips the scales an additional 120kg over the EV. Thanks to the fuel tank’s position at the front of the vehicle, luggage volume is unchanged at 260 litres – which can be extended to 1,100 litres with the rear seats folded down. 

Zero to 100km/h acceleration is achieved in 8.1 seconds, with CO2 emissions listed at 12g/km. With a low centre of gravity, carbon fibre-reinforced plastic architecture and rear-drive dynamics, the BMW i3 94Ah remains a truly engaging drive, in the best BMW tradition.

Sustainability beyond the vehicle

Of course, the latest i3 retains all the sustainability cues of the original. The Leipzig production plant, where the i3 is built, uses 50 per cent less energy and 70 per cent less water than the average BMW Group figures, with 100 per cent renewable energy powering the plant thanks to four wind turbines. Likewise, the construction of the CFRP architecture at Landshut is powered by 100 per cent wind turbine energy.

Additionally 80 per cent of the aluminium used in the i3’s construction is either recycled or produced with renewable energy. Seat trims are made of completely-recycled polyester, sustainable eucalyptus features on interior and dash trims, olive leaf extract is used to naturally tan interior leathers and the seat cover features 40 per cent pure new wool.

Standard specification retains sustainable premium feel

In a direct display of BMW i lineage, the BMW i3 94Ah will be offered with a Protonic Blue exterior paint option. This metallic finish, further enhanced with Frozen Grey metallic highlights, has until now been the preserve of the BMW i8 hybrid sports car. Two non-metallic (Capparis White and Fluid Black) and three additional metallic colours (Mineral Grey, Platinum Silver and Iconic Silver) will also be available from launch. BMW Australia will also offer three interior designs, ranging from the Loft specification, through Lodge to the up-market Suite; complete with Dark Oak wood trim fitted as part of this package. Eucalyptus wood trim, as well as Dark Oak, are also available with the other trim lines.

In any i3 interior, one can expect a mix of naturally-treated leathers, wood, wool and other renewable raw materials, further highlighting the sustainable premium character inherent in the BMW i3. The standard specification of these new i3 variants largely match that of the existing vehicles, with highlights including Navigation System Professional with specific BMW i ConnectedDrive Services content. This includes public charging stations displayed along the planned route, with a range map also included.

BMW i ConnectedDrive Services is a dynamic system that provides driver assistance using live information such as the current charging status of the battery, the driving style, the activated electric comfort functions and the selected driving mode, Real Time Traffic Information and the outside temperature, thanks to intelligent state-of-the-art BMW ConnectedDrive systems.

Linking the BMW i3 to your smartphone via the USB connector also enables access to a range of informative third-party apps, via the BMW Connected App. Programs such as Spotify, Pandora and Stitcher open a new world of media to the i3’s cockpit. Augmenting these in-car services is the BMW i Remote App, which brings vehicle-related mobility planning data to a Smartphone. 

The BMW i Remote App allows owners to pre-condition their i3 before they enter the cabin. The app also provides remote lock and unlock functions, efficiency history, current range and charge statuses and a ‘destination send’ navigational capability. All BMW i3 variants include the iDrive operation system, the BMW i RemoteApp functionalities, auxiliary heating, Driving Experience switch, Radio Professional, hands-free telephone operation, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, LED daytime driving lights, front and rear Park Distance Control (PDC) with rear sensors and the charging cable for connecting to a domestic power socket as standard equipment.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it is currently researching and developing a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. The new system — a world first for automotive use — features an e-Bio Fuel-Cell with an SOFC power generator. SOFC is a fuel cell utilising the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural petrol, with oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency.

About e-Bio Fuel-Cell

The e-Bio Fuel Cell generates electricity through the SOFC (power generator) using bio-ethanol stored in the vehicle. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell utilises hydrogen transformed from fuel via a reformer and atmospheric oxygen, with the subsequent electrochemical reaction producing electricity to power the vehicle.

Unlike conventional systems, e-Bio Fuel-Cell features SOFC as its power source, affording greater power efficiency to give the vehicle cruising ranges similar to petrol-powered cars (more than 600km). In addition, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell car’s distinct electric-drive features—including silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration—allow users to enjoy the joys and comfort of a pure electric vehicle (EV).

Fuel-cell systems use chemicals that react with oxygen, generating power without release of harmful byproducts. Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America, and Asia. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell, using bio-ethanol, can offer eco-friendly transportation and create opportunities in regional energy production, while supporting existing infrastructure.

When power is generated in a fuel-cell system, CO2 is usually emitted. With the bio-ethanol system, CO2 emissions are neutralised from the growing process of sugarcane making up the bio-fuel, allowing it to have a “Carbon-Neutral Cycle,” with nearly no CO2 increase whatsoever.

The Future of e-Bio Fuel-Cell

In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. As this will remove limits on creating a totally new infrastructure, it has great potential for market growth. Running costs will be remarkably low—on par with today’s EVs, ultimately benefitting the public as well as businesses, because the e-Bio Fuel-Cell is an ideal fit for wider customer needs because of the short refueling time and ample power supply that can support a range of services such as refrigerated delivery.

The Quest for a Zero-Emission Society

In pursuit of realising a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. Nissan’s brand promise of “Innovation That Excites” is delivered with “Nissan Intelligent Mobility”, which focuses on how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society through a more enjoyable driving experience.

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realise the concept of “Nissan Intelligent Power,” promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving, alongside battery EVs, such as the “Nissan Leaf”, “Nissan e-NV200,” and “e-Power,” which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator.

Nissan will continue to provide value to its customers by incorporating systems that enable the extraction of electric power from various fuels, while addressing the infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.

My Drive this week was the Tesla Model S, a sedan running only on electricity by a relatively new company based in Silicon Valley in the USA. The Model S is as revolutionary as they get, and in 15 years of testing cars I don’t think I’ve quite driven anything like this car, but let me get to it in a moment. The name “Tesla” is one that’s only recently begun circulating around Australia, but Tesla Motors has been around for a little longer than that, being founded in California back in 2003. They’ve been working only on electric cars, starting with the Lotus-based Tesla Roadster they released around five years ago now. However, the Model S I’m talking about today is the company’s own completely in-house design, and for a car company with only 12 years of experience, you have to marvel at just what they’ve created here.

Just take the exterior design for instance. At first glance, it’s a large, sleekly-styled saloon that looks like your average luxury sedan, but the door handles appear to be chrome-coloured parts that are completely buried in the doors themselves. There doesn’t appear to be any way of operating them until you move closer to the car, where they gradually slide out, now ready for you to pull on them and open the door. Tesla explains that having the handles completely buried in the doors improves aerodynamic drag, reducing power consumption. Very high-tech.

Once you step inside the Model-S, your attention goes to the massive 17 inch LCD touchscreen built into the centre of the dashboard. This vertically-oriented screen is the control centre of the car, because everything is operated from this screen. The door locks, the headlights, the climate control system, everything. And while the car is almost completely missing any buttons altogether, I have to say, this way of doing things is just so intuitive. The top of the screen has status icons, just like your smartphone. There’s a Bluetooth status icon; tap it and you get the Bluetooth control screen, where pairing your phone is the simplest process I’ve seen in any car. There’s also the name of who’s driving the car; tap here and you get the profile control screen. You can set up profiles for everyone driving the car, and it’s only a matter of changing this profile to have seat, mirror and steering wheel position memory change, as well as every other personalisation setting change for that person.

Satellite navigation is standard and it’s based on Google Maps, although the navigation itself is provided by Tesla. You just have to begin typing your destination or address to get it to come up, and once you select it, bang, your navigation starts. It’s that much easier than competing systems, and it also will show the location of any registered charging stations, even factoring them into really long journeys where you might not have enough energy to make it. I’ll get to charging stations later, but having said this, the nav system can do with a bit more customisation. For example, you can’t tell it to specifically avoid tollways, which is a shame. But really, once you’ve got Google Maps up on a 17 inch screen, it’s hard to go back.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how Google Maps works without an internet connection, that’s because the car actually has its own one powered by Telstra’s 3G network, which Tesla says is free with the car for the first four years. This connectivity also allows Tesla to provide software updates for the whole car over the internet, just like your smartphone. This means software problems can be quickly fixed, and even new features can be added to the car over time. Tesla has already promised autopilot-related updates to the cruise control down the track, and I’ve been told newer cars will get faster 4G connections soon too. Amazing.

The driver’s instrument cluster is also one big LCD screen which shows a lot of information and can be reconfigured. You have both digital and analogue speedos and you can display trip information, energy consumption, the media player and even navigation info when you have a destination set.

I can go on and on here but I’ll mention one other thing I like about the screens – the attention to detail. Whenever you change something related to the car such as the headlights, you have a picture of the Model S on-screen to show you how the car looks as you change it. What’s great is that the picture of your particular car is exactly the way you’ve customised it – the car’s colour, the alloy wheels, if there’s a sunroof or not, all of it. It’s not just a random placeholder picture, it’s your car. These minor touches are everywhere to be found in the Model S, and it makes the experience special.

Ok, let’s get to the rest of the interior. It’s huge. With the electric motor in the rear, there’s no transmission tunnels or other mechanicals so there’s loads of legroom both front and back. Looking at luggage storage space, there’s a massive 744 litres of storage space in the rear boot, and you can drop the back seats to go up to more than double that capacity. Notice I said rear boot. Yes, there’s a front one too. There’s no engine or anything up front, so that space has been repurposed into a small 150 litre storage compartment under the bonnet. Beautiful.

Now let’s get to the driving. My test car was the 85 variant, which refers to a rear-wheel electric drivetrain with an 85 kWh battery, good for an official 502 km of range, although more realistically you’ll get just under 400 km out of it, still very practical for an electric car, or any car for that matter. For comparison, there’s a smaller and cheaper 70 kWh battery, as well as a larger 90 kWh battery available. The rear motor produces 270 kilowatts of power and 440 Newton-metres of torque in a direct drive configuration, meaning there’s no gearbox at all. It’s good for 0-100 km in 5.6 seconds.

In a word, wow. The amazing thing about electric torque is how instant, linear and consistent it is. Put your foot down in the Model S and the car will respond by nailing you into your seat in a way that no petrol or diesel engine can match. That’s how strong, how ferocious, and also how instant the acceleration is. If you need to suddenly overtake a car for whatever reason, I can tell you now that with the Model S you can do it with confidence because it will respond instantly and move quickly – it’s that impressive. It also does it in almost complete silence – the drivetrain is so refined that, even under full acceleration, the most you hear is the small whine of loads of electrical current being dropped into the motor, but dial things down and drive normally and it goes silent. If you listen really carefully you’ll hear a very slight hum at certain speeds, but otherwise, nothing. When they say silence is golden, they were probably talking about this car. Of course, the car itself is also soundproofed quite well, with road noise barely intruding into the car at all. The ride itself is a little too sporty however, being a little firm with small corrugations mostly transmitted into the cabin even at low speeds. It’s here that the Model S could use a little more work.

Energy consumption averaged out around 21 kWh per 100 kilometres, so with an 85 kWh battery you will get a 400 kilometre or so range as I mentioned earlier. If you have to travel further than this in one trip, Tesla operates a network of charging stations it calls Superchargers, which can top up your car with a few hundred kilometres of range in around half an hour – enough time for a coffee break. The company is in the process of building out this network on major highways around Australia, starting with the east coast, and best of all, the electricity they supply is free for the foreseeable future. Tesla has also got agreements with quite a few hotels and other facilities to supply charging infrastructure for Model S owners, so I think you’ll be hard pressed to get any range anxiety whatsoever in this car.

The Tesla Model S starts from $113,152 dollars for the cheapest 70 variant, and quickly works its way up from there with several options to choose from.

I have to say, it’s an absolutely amazing car that is extremely competitive with other luxury carmaker offerings, and it will be very interesting to see whatever else Tesla Motors conjures up in the future. That’s it for me this week.

August 8th 2015
Albert Malik

Volkswagen AG aspires to holding the leading position in the field of automated parking. A look into the near future of automated parking is given by 'V-Charge', an EU research project, in which six national and international partners are jointly developing new technologies. Its focus is on automating the search for a parking space and on the charging of electric vehicles. The best part about it is that the vehicle not only automatically looks for an empty parking space, but that it finds an empty space with charging infrastructure and inductively charges its battery. Once the charging process is finished, it automatically frees up the charging bay for another electric vehicle and looks for a conventional parking space. 'V-Charge' stands for Valet Charge and is pointing the way to the future of automated parking.

In the USA especially, convenient valet parking is a big hit: you pull up in your car right outside your destination, valet service personnel park it for you and have it brought around again as and when you need it. There is no more time-wasting search for a parking place. The V-Charge project picks up on this idea. Its development goal is fully automated searching for a parking space ('valet parking') within defined zones, such as in multi-storey car parks.

There are many scenarios that illustrate the advantages of the V-Charge concept. Take one practical everyday example: a commuter notices that he is possibly going to be late and is thus running the risk of missing an important meeting at his company. With V-Charge he is able to pull up right in front of the main entrance, get out and establish the link to his vehicle via the associated smartphone application. Operating fully automatically, the vehicle has a digital map relayed to it and within the parking area or multi-storey car park autonomously navigates to a parking space. If it is an electric vehicle, the system additionally prioritises a parking bay with an automatic charging facility. Pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles are identified by the cameras and ultrasound sensors integrated within the vehicle. Therefore, the vehicle is allowed to travel in so-called 'mixed traffic'. The selected parking area neither has to be an enclosed domain nor is any complex technical equipment required.

As the electric vehicle nears its destination, the system recognises via local sensors whether the allocated parking space is taken. If it is empty, the fully automatic parking manoeuvre begins and positions the vehicle exactly above the inductive charging spot. When the charging process is complete, the vehicle automatically moves to another parking space, leaving the charging station free for another electric car. When the driver returns to the multi-storey car park, he calls the vehicle back to the starting point via the V-Charge app. The vehicle moves to the defined pick-up location, with the driver not needing to set foot in the parking area or multi-storey car park.

Taking the lead in the international research consortium is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. It is responsible for visual localisation, movement planning and vehicle control (Autonomous Systems Lab division), camera calibration, 3D reconstruction from images and obstacle detection (Computer Vision and Geometry Lab division).

BraunschweigTechnical University works on the issues of car park management and the vehicle's communication with the technical surroundings (vehicle-to-infrastructure'V2I'), Robert Bosch GmbH contributes its expertise in the field of sensor technology, Parma University looks after object recognition and Oxford University handles the development of detailed navigation maps of the parking area (semantic mapping concepts). As the sixth partner in the consortium, Volkswagen is providing the platform equipment, safety and control modules, as well as systems for static monitoring of surroundings, object recognition and automated parking.

The test vehicle: a network of technical sensory organs

The technical prerequisites largely already exist. During the introductory stage, for instance, it was possible to utilise sensor and camera technologies that are already being used in today's production vehicles. A dense network of sensory devices enables autonomous operation of the V-Charge test vehicle, which is based on a Volkswagen e Golf1. Four wide- angle cameras and two 3D cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors, digital maps and the so- called 'Car2X' technology for the vehicle's communication with the infrastructure ensure that the vehicle's surroundings are reliably detected and recognised. Pedestrians, vehicles and obstacles get identified, parking spaces recognised and measured and then this stream of data is put together in real timeto form an overall picture – the task that the technical 'sensory organs' have to fulfil is complex and extremely varied.

As continual tests run as part of the research project show, V-Charge is already functional today. GPS-independent indoor localisation, centimetre-exact parking space measurement and 360-degree recognition of surroundings all function reliably, as do the system's reactions to pedestrians and vehicles and the way in which it takes account of traffic moving in line with or across the vehicle's path.

2005: a Volkswagen Touareg called 'Stanley'makes the first move towards autonomy

At Volkswagen automatic motoring moved from being a vision to a field of research at an early stage. 'Stanley' – a Touareg converted in cooperation with Stanford University in California and the Volkswagen Electronics Research Laboratory (USA) into a laboratory that could drive autonomously – was already winning the Grand Challenge competition for robot vehicles as far back as 2005. The next stage of development, in 2007, was the Passat 'Junior', which even then was finding its way through the big-city jungle without a driver – and doing so with such success that it took second place in the Urban Challenge for autonomous vehicles.

Given the working titles 'PAUL' and 'iCar', two further Passat research vehicles also demonstrated their autonomous capabilities that same year. While, thanks to intelligent parking assistance with no driver involvement, 'PAUL' slips into spaces perpendicular to the carriageway, the 'intelligent car' makes life easier for the driver in stop-and-go situations and on long monotonous journeys by automatically braking and keeping the appropriate distance.

In 2011, the 'eT – follow me!' microvan was launched as the ideal vehicle for delivery services. One real-life scenario: If the driver walks from house to house along a street delivering letters, for example, 'eT' follows him on quiet electric paws like a well-trained dog to ensure his mailbag is constantly replenished ('FollowMe' function) – or stays on his spot like a good boy until receiving the electronic 'come to me' call.

Also taking to the stage of autonomous motoring in 2011 was the 'HAVE-IT' (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport), a Volkswagen AG contribution to the research project of the same name funded by the European Commission. The Wolfsburgengineers had developed for the Passat Variant a 'temporary autopilot', which set the best possible degree of automation for driving on motorways and similar roads based on the driving situation, surroundings, the driver's condition and the system status.

1Volkswagen e-Golf power consumption,kWh/100 km: 12.7 (combined); CO2 emission, g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+

*The other vehicle models mentioned above are test vehicles.

Aligning form and function to conceive a uniquely compelling vehicle for the city-dweller-turned-outdoor-adventurer, Kia Motors America (KMA) took the wraps off the boldly designed Trail’ster e-AWD concept at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Based on the brand’s iconic Soul urban passenger vehicle, the turbocharged Trail’ster – with its Polar Pearl Snowdrift/Terra Bronze Metallic paint scheme, roll-top canvas roof and armored aluminum skid plates – captures the essence of an advanced and capable CUV intended for those looking to escape their urban environs in search of higher-elevation playgrounds where snow, mud, streams and trails abound. Efficient and lightweight, the Trail’ster is ideal for transporting adventurers and their gear. With its rugged, functional and upscale approach to an active mountain-focused lifestyle, Trail’ster was dreamt up at Kia’s California design studio, birthplace of the unforgettable Track’ster and GT4 Stinger. “The Trail’ster concept is a near-future look at how the production Kia Soul would logically evolve into an AWD-capable version that’s built to escape the city streets and roam into the mountain wilderness,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Design Center of America (KDCA). “It takes the go-anywhere capability of an SUV and reimagines it within a compact and sporty package with an expressive design to match.”

Underscoring Kia’s focus on all-wheel drive capability, the Trail’ster enables a wide array of mountain activities, from skiing and snowboarding to camping, hiking and mountain biking. Whether it’s trekking up to a high, snowy summit or traipsing down a muddy fire road to a piney trailhead, the Trail’ster – thanks to a rear axle-mounted electric all-wheel-drive system – is all about surefootedness in the wild. Based on the production Soul, the Trail’ster’s overall shape and size are unmistakable. But with family genes tied closely to the thought-provoking Track’ster and Soul’ster concepts — which pushed Soul far into new directions to realize its performance and lifestyle possibilities — the Trail’ster also takes a dramatic departure from its production-car roots with styling and drivetrain components that turn Kia’s popular urban passenger vehicle into a rugged runabout, further demonstrating that Soul is indeed the ideal platform for creativity and experimentation. The exterior colour was inspired by the earthy combination of springtime snow and mud, the terrain for which the Trail’ster has been created to travel confidently through on its way to outdoor destinations high above sea level. The Polar Pearl Snowdrift exterior paint is a modern neutral color, against which the warm and contrasting Terra Bronze Metallic tone of the roof and lower cladding brings connection to the soft dirt of roads less traveled. Anodized fire-red wheel accents and polished billet aluminium sections infuse a purposeful and sophisticated aesthetic to the Trail’ster’s precise design, taking inspiration from high-tech, high-performance outdoor sporting gear.

Overhead, the Trail’ster features a stylish full-length, weatherproof rollback canvas roof to create an open-sky environment for occupants to enjoy the outdoors even before reaching their chosen high ground. This fully retractable cover also helps lighten the vehicle and lowers the center of gravity, promoting higher efficiency and improved dynamics. Integrated roof rack fittings with aluminium cross rails allow adventurers to tote mountain bikes or snowboards with ease. The Trail’ster’s use of advanced LED technology creates a strong and unique lighting identity from top to bottom, front to back. Upfront, the signature Kia grille bars extend through the K900-style projector headlamps to create a full-width frontal graphic. And below, expressive fog light elements give the vehicle a bold personality while providing additional wattage for illuminating off-the-beaten-track excursions. The Trail’ster’s rear view takes on a tough-looking appearance framed by LED tail lamps that are built into durable, ruggedized light housings. Highlighting its off-road prowess, the Trail’ster wears aluminium skidplates around the entire vehicle, providing a protective armor to shield the undercarriage from jagged rocks and ice.

Within, the Trail’ster’s colour and trim palette combines brown leather and aluminum accents to relay an earthy but upscale environment that’s both durable and comfortable. Cabin materials are inspired by snow sports gear and equipment. “We drew from high-quality active lifestyle accessories like snowboarding gloves, boots and helmets to bring a premium level of craftsmanship and character to the interior space,” commented Kearns. The focal point of this interior is a tactile and sturdy centre console incorporating a thickset gear shifter, AWD controls and a bright red ignition button. Brown leather-trimmed seats feature a pillow-embossed textile for the seat inserts and the floor mats feature aluminium inlays for all-weather traction. Other interior finishes and details were also inspired by the top-quality materials of cold-weather sporting gear, like leather, high-gloss paint and metallic trim. Being based on the Kia Soul means the Trail’ster also benefits from efficient packaging and an abundance of space for passengers and their cargo as they head out on their next adventure.

The Trail’ster is primarily powered by a robust 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine outputting 138kW and 250Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, matched to an electric all-wheel-drive system on the rear axle intended for low-speed assist, enhanced launch acceleration and improved traction in inclement weather or off-road situations. In addition, this approach helps mitigate turbo lag by providing instant torque. The system also improves fuel economy over standard all-wheel-drive setups by operating only when needed and serving as an energy recovery mechanism. Further defining the near future perspective of Soul as a capable and efficient all-wheel-driver runner, the Trail’ster arrives as a “Through-the-Road” hybrid, which means it has two power sources (a front petrol engine and a rear electric motor) that make up the hybrid system and meet “through the road,” as opposed to inside the transmission with a common driveline connection. It requires all four wheels being driven in careful coordination, but there’s no mechanical link between engine and electric motor. The link between the two is the road itself. "This powertrain strategy of a downsized turbo and ‘Through-the-Road’ hybrid power yields a dual benefit of increased performance – torque and traction – and optimized efficiency,” said Kearns. “This is AWD being done the advanced, intelligent and responsible way, while sacrificing nothing.”

Should the Trail’ster find its way to production, fuel economy would be targeted at a 25-30 percent improvement in city driving and 5-10 percent in highway driving over the normally aspirated 2015 2.0-litre petrol Soul. The Trail’ster’s electric propulsion system draws energy from a 1.2 kWh Lithium Ion Polymer battery powering a 27 kW, 270 volt AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor outputting 26kW and 135Nm of torque to the rear wheels and bringing total output to an impressive 164kW and 386Nm of torque. To further improve fuel efficiency, the system also utilizes a Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) to start/stop the engine as needed (and to feed energy to the high voltage battery), and an electrically driven A/C compressor, which can run when the engine is shut off. This technology is designed for easy, lightweight packaging, with the compact battery pack stored under the cargo floor.

Operationally, the rear electric drive system engages in one of three scenarios, depending on throttle position and road conditions: Under light throttle, the Trail’ster attains true clean mobility as the electric motor drives the car solely for a range of two to three miles; under normal driving, the rear electric motor assists the 1.6-litre turbo during acceleration events calling for greater power and torque; when treading off-road or on wet pavement, the electric drive system is introduced when front wheel slippage is detected. Finally, the Trail’ster’s electric motor acts as a generator to recover kinetic energy and recharge the battery when the vehicle is braking or coasting. For traversing tough terrain, the Trail’ster has been raised more than 4cm over the production Soul. In addition, this mountain rover wears Pirelli Winter Carving 245/45-19 snow tires for enhanced traction and utilizes KSport coilover shocks to absorb the impact of rough, uneven ground and rocky surfaces.