‘All-new’ Camry lives up to its name…Hybrid hydrogen fuel cell runs on sunlight…Ms R sure is some super quick lady…Phillip Island Classic clocks up a 50…plus…plus..

‘All-new’ is one of those terms that the auto industry use to cover a whole heap of things that have nothing really to do with a new design and usually indicates that a new bumper, or whatever, has been added to an existing model.

The ‘all-new’ Toyota Camry sedan, however, has actually had a redesign from bumper to bumper. Built on a new platform, the result is claimed to be better fuel economy higher power from new powertrains, revamped chassis and new safety technologies.

The powertrains include a redesigned hybrid system with a new direct-injection four-cylinder engine and a new V6 engine with direct-injection technology and an eight-speed transmission.

Other bits include fully independent rear suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, drive mode select, LED headlights, electric parking brake, 10-inch head-up display, opening roof, active cruise control and pre-collision safety system with autonomous emergency braking.

The new hybrid system gives 4.5 litres/100km on the SL and 4.2 litres on the other grades all based on a new 2.5-litre, four-cylinder dynamic force engine. Innovations include VVT-iE variable valve timing. The “E” means it uses an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control variable valve timing for increased fuel efficiency with cleaner exhaust emissions.

A lighter and more compact power control unit now sits directly above the transaxle, lowering the vehicle’s centre of mass and enabling a lower bonnet.

The V6’s new VVT-iW variable valve timing system operates on the intake to ensure high torque production at all engine speeds. The engine uses the Otto and Atkinson cycles to enhance fuel economy and is mated to a new direct-shift, eight-speed automatic transmission with direct lock-up from second to eighth gears, sequential shifting and auto-blipping downshift control.

The MacPherson strut front suspension has been redesigned, remounted and given new geometry with the rear suspension utilising  separate spring and damper units.

The electric power steering motor is now mounted on the rack housing, to help lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity. The steering column is at a more natural angle for the driver with tilt and telescopic adjustment.

There’s an electric parking brake and brake-hold function that maintains the brake fluid pressure without pressure on the brake pedal or applying the parking brake.

Ascent now has the advanced safety features, an upgraded multimedia system, seven-inch display audio with Toyota Link connected mobility, Optitron instruments, 4.2-inch multi-information display, power lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat and LED head lamps. Recommended retail price of $27,690.

The model is also offered as a hybrid with additional features including dual-zone air-conditioning, keyless entry and ignition, a drive mode select function. RRP of $30,000.

The sporty SX sedan, with the new 19-inch wheels, sports suspension, paddle shifters and wireless phone charger has an RRP of $33,290.

Camry SX and SL are also offered with the new direct-injection V6 engine and eight-speed direct-shift automatic transmission at $37,290.

Hybrid hydrogen fuel cell runs on sunlight

At times the march towards fuel efficient, non-polluting vehicles seems painfully slow then suddenly there is a spring in the step of the loyal troops, especially when there appears to be ‘breakthrough’. News of a hybrid unit that combines a super capacitor with a hydrogen fuel cell and runs the whole shebang on solar power could be such an occasion.

It’s all part of new work out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) that could help lower the barrier to entry for consumers, with a device that uses sunlight to produce both hydrogen and electricity.

Along with the usual positive and negative electrodes, the device has a third electrode that can either store energy electrically or use it to split water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen atoms, a process called water electrolysis.

To make the electrodes as efficient as possible, the team has maximised the amount of surface area that comes into contact with water, right down to the nanoscale. All of which increases the amount of hydrogen the system can produce and how much energy the super capacitor can store.

“People need fuel to run their vehicles and electricity to run their devices,” says UCLA’s Richard Kaner. “Now it’s possible to make both fuel and electricity with a single device.”

Hydrogen itself may be clean, but producing it on a commercial scale is a bit iffy.  Converting natural gas is a costly operation that results in a lot of carbon dioxide emissions.

Using renewable sources like solar can help solve both these problems and it’s a plus that the UCLA device uses materials such as nickel, iron and cobalt that are much more abundant than precious metals such as platinum that are currently used to produce hydrogen.

“Hydrogen is a great fuel for vehicles. It’s the cleanest fuel known, is cheap and puts no pollutants into the air other than water, and this could dramatically lower the cost of hydrogen cars,” says Richard.

Sales of hydrogen vehicles can’t really take off until consumers can easily find places to fill up, with the UCLA device it should be possible to hook into the sun almost anywhere to produce fuel, particularly for people living in rural or remote areas.

An added bonus is that the super capacitor part of the system can chemically store the harvested solar energy as hydrogen and help bolster energy storage for the grid.

Although the current device is palm-sized, the researchers say that it should be relatively easy to scale up. The research was published in the journal Energy Storage Materials.

 

Ms R sure is some super quick lady

Meanwhile, in the ‘Biggus Dickus’ world of supercars, Miss R appears to be the hottest thing in town at the moment. Built by Taiwan’s Xing Mobility it’s a demonstration of beauty and rare power all rolled into one that at 0-100km/h in 1.8 secs pips the recently announced Tesla Roadster by a massive 10th of a second.

But don’t expect Ms R to be seducing buyers anytime soon as the project at this stage is more about promoting Xing’s powertrains. Using four-wheel torque vectoring, this 1000 kilowatt bundle of energy certainly seems to do that.

Heat is a huge issue in ultra high-performance electrics and Xing has protected its battery packs from overheating by using an unique liquid cooling system. Ninety-eight modules, each containing 42 lithium-ion cells are packed Lego-like into the car for a total of 4116 cells. (Below)

All are immersed in 3M’s Novec 7200 engineering fluid, which is totally non-conductive, great for heat transfer and an excellent fire suppressant.

Xing reckons that this liquid cooling system allows the extraction of a massive amount of power, equal to, or slightly more, than the Tesla, while using somewhere between 30-50% fewer cells.

All of which means that this car won’t get near the Roadster’s 998-km range, but the entire battery pack can be swapped over in just five minutes.

Miss R is currently being put through her test paces and it is hoped that a limited production run will begin in 2018 by which time she could well be superseded by a younger, faster, even more beautiful model.

 

Fisker file patents on extensive range EV battery

Designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles Fisker Inc. has filed patents on flexible solid-state battery technology that the company says will challenge conventional thought on vehicle battery energy density, range, charging times and manufacturing costs.

The patent includes claims over novel materials and manufacturing processes that the company think are critical in achieving the required energy density, power and cost targets for the widespread use of electric vehicles.

Current limitations in solid-state technology include low electrode current density, limited temperature ranges and material availability, high costs and non-scalable manufacturing processes.

Early results claim to show that Fisker’s solid-state technology enables the construction of bulk three-dimensional solid-state electrodes with 25 times more surface area than flat, thin-film, solid-state electrodes and extremely high electronic and ionic conductivities.

This enables fast charging and cold temperature operation. As a result, the company say its battery delivers 2.5 times the energy density of typical lithium-ion batteries with the potential of costing one third of the 2020-projected price of those batteries.

Fisker anticipate the technology may be ready for automotive applications post 2023. Such long lead times are due to the lack of supply chains with particular raw materials and appropriate manufacturing tools, as well as established quality procedures for materials repeatability.

Once the technology is fully validated, the battery will deliver a vehicle range of more than 500 miles on a single charge, and charging times as low as one minute, allowing technology to bypass the internal combustion engine and push the automobile into mass electrification.

Fisker is in active discussions with various industrial groups around potential non-automotive partnerships with the possibility of battery applications that may be commercialised much earlier than 2023.

The company’s flexible solid-state electrode construction will enable batteries with versatile voltage and form factors. They may be wound in cylindrical cells with higher voltage output, allowing usage of current tooling and machinery for battery packs in addition to lesser cell-to-cell connections, thermal management and safety requirements. All of which freduces battery system costs.

The launch of the Fisker EMotion luxury electric vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show featured a proprietary battery module with advanced thermal management using 21700 NCM cells from LG Chem.

The company has been simultaneously working on proprietary technology that will enable charging for a 127-mile range in nine minutes.

Phillip Island Classic clocks up a 50

Next year’s Phillip Island Classic will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the spectacular Formula 5000 worldwide racing with a field of more than 30 cars from Australia and New Zealand.

Regarded as one of the largest historic racing events in the world, the event will be held from 9-11 March at the famous circuit just out of Melbourne.

Patrons include Alfredo (Alfie) Constanzo, retired Italian born Australian racing driver, who competed in four Australian Grand Prix and won four Australian Drivers’ championships, equalling the record set by Bib Stillwell.

Kevin Bartlett is a former Australian open wheel and touring racing driver who won the Australian Drivers’ Championship and the Bathurst 1000 in 1968 and 1969. In 1974, he was named as one of Australia’s 50 greatest race drivers.

Alan Hamilton, twice Australian Sports Car Drivers’ Champion, Porsche Importer, team owner and four times winner of the Gold Star Championship with Alfie Constanzo. Alan was third in the 1971 Australian Grand Prix and second at Bathurst in 1974. That’s him on the far right with fellow Victorians in 1970.

Tasmanian John McCormack was one of the leading Formula 5000 racers in the 1970’s winning the Australian Drivers’ Championship three times. He raced open wheelers, sport sedans and touring cars and in 1973-74 won the New Zealand Grand Prix i

Kiwi Ken Smith won the New Zealand Grand Prix in 1976, 1990 and 2004 and raced Formula Ford, Formula 5000, Formula Pacific, Formula Mondial and Toyota Racing Series.

He competed over 59 consecutive seasons on the motor racing circuit winning the Gold Star Drivers Award five times, Formula 5000 Revival three times, Penang Grand Prix three times, Selanger twice and Malaysian Grand Prix once. In 1995 Ken was inducted into the New Zealand motorsport Hall of Fame.

According to VHRR Formula 5000 group representative Bob Harborow: “We will witness some spectacular racing and no doubt some great Trans-Tasman rivalry in the International Challenge at Phillip Island in March as the Formula 5000 cars are currently faster than the V8 Supercars racing.

“To showcase this and celebrate the Formula 5000’s, some of the races will be longer and patrons will witness cars such as the A50 Matich, which won the Australian Grand Prix, the MR8 Elfin 5000 of Garrrie Cooper and Vern Schuppan that raced at both Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen, USA,” he said.

 

Heavyweight research into lightweight products

A major new research centre aims to transform Australia’s automotive industry by developing new lightweight materials and manufacturing technologies.

The ARC Training Centre in Lightweight Automotive Structures (Atlas) is led by RMIT University in partnership with Deakin University, Australian National University, Ford Motor Company, CSIRO and 11 local and international partner organisations from the USA, Germany and England.

The research will aim to accelerate the transformation of Australia’s automotive industry by commercialising new products and processes and to make vehicles more fuel-efficient and reduce emissions.

According to RMIT’s Calum Drummond, new lightweight materials and advanced manufacturing processes would help industry to innovate and create jobs.

“This opens the door to exporting new lightweight automotive product designs, high-value lightweight components, and engineering services to the global automotive market segments. It’s a perfect fit with RMIT’s aim to deliver research with impact that can contribute to a more vibrant and sustainable economy.”

Atlas will take on 13 PhD candidates and five postdoctoral research fellows.

 

Billboard with a difference gives vehicle owners a chance to earn extra cash

Did you know that little bit of precious metal that cost you an arm and a leg and spends most of its time parked on the street or in the garage, can be used to turn a tidy dollar? Australian marketing agency Afori has developed a highly visible publicity format for owners of vehicles willing to lease the exterior for aesthetic advertising.

Known as mobillboard advertising, the technology is claimed not to damage the vehicle’s paintwork in any way whilst giving owners revenue from an economy-sharing concept.

Afori’s design-to-production strategy matches commercial and industrial clients with members of the community who own modern cars and are willing to lease the exterior.

According to Afori’s Glenn Chow, there is a client base out there that would like to be on billboard advertising but can’t afford it: “As is demonstrated by pictures of our company cars, mobillboard advertising is a highly polished marketing and advertising product enabling SMEs or big corporates to take their image and message to any area they want.”

First step is close consultation with clients to determine exactly what message and design they want to deliver followed by a digital presentation of the artwork. Once approved, then it’s up to the vehicle owner to decided whether to go ahead.

“Afroi’s idea is to produce a high-quality, sharp look, just like a highly noticeable moving billboard and perfectly fitting each vehicle that is taking your message around.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone as now people are finding that their domestic cars are paying their own running costs. The company has a team of strategists, marketers and designers to boost a cost effective media advertising solution for most businesses in any industry or commercial sector,” added Glenn.

CLICK HERE for more details.

 

A special one for ‘The Special One’

With his team still a little off the pace in the Premier League it’s perhaps not surprising that The Special One has been honoured with the presentation of the 100,000th Jaguar F-Pace.

Wearing bespoke Jaguar overalls, José Mourinho made a ‘surprise’ visit to Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Solihull, to watch employees put the finishing touches to his new car.

“Jaguar is a brand that I have been involved with for many years. Back in 2014, I was the first UK customer to receive the F-Type coupe and now to become the 100,000th Jaguar F-PACE customer is something that is very special,” said the Manchester United manager.

The F-Pace is the fastest selling Jaguar vehicle ever and the quickest vehicle to reach the 100K sales mark.

In 2016, José test drove the vehicle as part of an extreme high-performance driver training experience in the Arctic Circle mastering the art of high speed drifting and full throttle ice driving on a 60km frozen lake at Jaguar’s extreme testing facility in Arjeplog, Sweden.

ClipperCreek EV charging stations now available in Australia and NZ

Following extensive local safety certification, US-manufactured ClipperCreek EV chargers are now on sale in Australia and New Zealand through local distributor EVolution.

Products include the ECS portable, plug-in charging station configured to deliver up to 15A to a vehicle for charging through a standard, 15A high power wall outlet and the LCS, a compact, hardwired charging station that can deliver up to 16A to a vehicle.

Both units are universally compatible with all SAE-J1772 plug-in vehicles and including a three-year warranty, fully sealed NEMA 4 (IP66) enclosure and 25 feet (7.6M) charging cable.

The ECS-20 is said to be ideal to take advantage of public charging posts and high speed home charging through a high power outlet. Home, work place and fleet charging are all possible using the LCS-20E that is claimed to be twice as fast as the cordset delivered with an EV.

Features of the LCS-20E and ECS-20 include: Fully sealed NEMA 4 (IP66) rated enclosure # 3-year warranty # Integrated cable wrap for easy storage # 7.6M charging cable for installation flexibility and superior reach # wall mount connector holster # 2×2 faster charging.

More @ www.evolutionaustralia.com.au or 1300 70 11 99.

New interactive merchandising units

Narva has launched a range of new merchandising solutions designed to assist retailers increase sales and make the most of available floor space. The program, which covers a wide variety of product categories, offers high quality point of sale materials along with carefully selected stock recommendations.

The products in each bay are clearly marked, easily identifiable and let the retailer provide targeted offerings of the most popular Narva products. Each retail program has a full merchandising kit designed to fit existing both 900mm and the larger 1200mm gondolas.

There’s an interactive globe application guide that assists customer to select the correct product for their vehicle and application. Using a 10 inch display with reliable Android operating platform, the constant-display tablet does not require internet connection and will self-update once connected to wifi.

The tablet sits in an adjustable cradle that is fixed to the gondola and provides easy access for customers, presenting them with the features and benefits of the entire globe range including standard incandescent, premium long life, performance incandescent and performance LED globes.

Talking of which, the company has also added a 9-33V LED combination that offers both stop/tail and directional indicator functions within the one lamp, to its extensive range of Model 45 LED truck and trailer lighting.

The new product enables the end user, or truck OEM, to use fewer lamps or to create a signature appearance by multiplying the visual performance of each lamp. A further benefit is the ability to create a uniform style by providing all clear lenses when matched with the reverse.

The new combination lamp kit includes a vinyl grommet and 0.5mm hard-wired, sheathed cable for easy installation. Other models in the range feature a plug and lead assembly similar to that used in the standard sealed units.

Narva has also added a new 9-33V recess mount option to its LED interior lighting range that delivers a bright white light of 15 Lux at two metres, with the added benefits of long life operation and low current draw (0.38A at 12V and 0.2A at 24V).

Finished in a white trim, the Recess Mount LED interior lamp is also available in a blue trim, to match blue trip refrigerated interiors and is backed by a five-year LED warranty.
More @ www.narva.com.au.