Citroën Unveils AMI One Concept

Citroën says it has marked 100 years of innovation and boldness with the unveiling of the Ami One Concept, an all-electric vehicle that “places digital technology at the heart of urban mobility”. The company will exhibit the concept at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

A full electric vehicle concept car capable of carrying two people, the French car manufacturer says the Ami One is faithful to the brand promise “Inspired by You”, and is the company’s response to new customer behaviour and the “challenge of the energy transition in urban environments”.

Designed to be utilised without a driver’s licence in France, the Ami One is accompanied by a global digital ecosystem “fostering a modern, cheerful and broadly accessible mobility experience”.

The concept aims to rethink the customer journey, offering ‘on-demand’ use ranging from five-minutes to five-years. This would cover a range of scenarios from car-sharing and rentals to a full-blown purchase.

The Ami One includes a mobile app that motorists can use to “manage their relationship with the vehicle”, providing access to a portal of services tailored to each journey.

VW’s Dune Buggy Is Back… And Now It’s Electric

At the beginning of March, Volkswagen will reveal the first fully electric version of a new buggy. Taking its cues from popular American dune buggies, the concept vehicle is based on the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) – designed to demonstrate how multifaceted the new platform truly is, according to Volkswagen.

The company says the concept of the fully electric buggy is based on the historical predecessors that found their home in California and Australia. Back then, the chassis of the Beetle served as the basis; now, the MEB platform is apparently proving to be just as flexible. This reinterpretation of a proper buggy has no fixed roof or conventional doors, while the free-standing wheels fitted with off-road tyres and open side sills dominate the overall look.

VW says the new MEB concept vehicle shows that the fully electric platform can be used for more than just large-scale series production models. Like previous Beetle chassis, the company feels MEB has the potential to facilitate the development of low-volume niche series.

The company notes that the history of recreational vehicles and its technology is a long one – from the Beetle convertible and special bodies produced by companies such as Hebmüller and Rometsch, to fully open designs of the kind embraced by the Meyers Manx buggy, the Beetle chassis allowed for creative – and sometimes exclusive – custom solutions for decades. Globally, around 250,000 individual vehicles were built as one-offs or at low volumes through to the 1980s.

The fully electric concept buggy will be revealed for the first time at the 89th International Geneva Motor Show (7 to 17 March 2019).

Hyundai Introduces World-First Multi-Collision Airbag System

Hyundai Motor Group has announced its development and future commercialisation of what it says is the world’s first multi-collision airbag system. Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as trees, electrical posts or other vehicles. Hyundai says this occurs in three out of every 10 accidents.

Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

Hyundai’s new technology detects occupant position in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Hyundai says multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Chassis Technology Centre at Hyundai Motor Group. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, about 30 per cent of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions.

The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8 per cent), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway toll gates (13.5 per cent), highway median strip collisions (8.0 per cent), and sideswiping and collisions with trees and electric poles (4.0 per cent).

Hyundai Motor Group said it analysed multi-collision scenarios in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. The company said it will implement the system in new Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the future.

‘Time-Warp’ Peugeot To Go Under The Hammer

An immaculately-preserved, completely original, one-owner 1991 Peugeot 309 GTi with 210 warranted kilometres on the clock is amongst the early entries for Barons’ Classic Winter Warmer sale at Sandown Park in the UK on 26 February.

The vendor bought the car new in 1991, but worked predominantly overseas and had a second car, so the Peugeot was barely used as the mileage clearly showed.

The car was kept garaged throughout its life and is in showroom condition.

The engine, electricals, interior, bodywork and more are as-new and, with a guide price of £8000 – £11,000, it could be the right opportunity to acquire a ‘new’, classic family sedan that might prove to be a sound investment for the future.

For more information visit www.barons-auctions.com.

UNSW Sunswift Solar Car Sets Guinness World Record

The UNSW Sunswift solar car team last week set a new Guinness World Record for the lowest energy consumption driving across Australia with an electric car.

The student team completed the 4100km journey between Perth and Sydney two days ahead of schedule and averaged 3.25kWh per 100 kilometres, well under the 5.5kWh/100km needed to set the record.

The Sunswift team’s aim for the energy cost was to be less than that of a single tank of fuel. The total costs for the trip turned out to be A$50.

Traveling an average of 600 kilometres each day, the trip was without incident – but ‘Violet’ proved difficult to control.

“Violet is lively on the road a lot, it’s not a production car and you have to kind of handle it like a horse in order to manage it on public roads. But we did it,” said Sunswift team member Hayden Smith.

Violet is the sixth solar car designed and manufactured by the Sunswift team and its first four-seat, family-oriented vehicle. It is five metres long, 2.2 metres wide and stands 1.2 metres high. The vehicle weighs 360 kilograms, thanks in part to its lightweight chassis of carbon fibre monocoque with foam and an aramid honeycomb core.

The car’s solar array consists of 318 SunPower monocrystalline silicon cells with a conversion efficiency of 22 per cent. They charge a modular lithium-ion battery bank that can be sized between 10 and 20 kilowatt-hours, powering twin rear wheel in-hub, brushless DC synchronous motors. Violet has a top speed of 140 km/h.

The car also has front and rear boot space, a reversing camera, parking sensors, an interactive display screen with GPS as well as other creature comforts such as air-conditioning.

“These students have pushed the boundaries of modern engineering and proven that solar powered cars are likely to be a big part of Australia’s motoring future,” said UNSW Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman, who met the team at the finish line in Sydney.

The team will be busy in the new year preparing for the 2019 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which covers 3000km from Darwin to Adelaide.

The Sunswift Solar Car project has been running at UNSW for 23 years.

Carlos Ghosn Arrested Over Allegations Of Financial Misconduct

Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, was arrested Monday in Japan over concerns he had underreported his income and misused company funds.

In a statement, Nissan said it had been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly based on a whistleblower report.

According to the company, the investigation discovered that over many years both Ghosn and Kelly had been reporting their compensation in the Tokyo Stock Exchange securities report as less than what they actually received, the aim being to reduce Ghosn’s disclosed compensation.

Nissan also discovered “numerous other significant acts of misconduct, such as personal use of company assets” related to Ghosn, with “Kelly’s deep involvement  also confirmed”, according to a statement.

The company says it has been providing information to the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office and is fully cooperating with their investigation.

In a dramatic move, the company said CEO Hiroto Saikawa will propose to the company board to promptly remove Ghosn from his positions as Chairman and Representative Director, as well as removing Kelly from his own Representative Director position. The company cited the misconduct’s violation of its board of directors’ duty of care as the reason for the move.

The development heavily tarnishes what was a distinguished career for Ghosn, who helped restore Renault’s profitability in the late 1990s and executed the recovery of Nissan in just one year in the early 2000s.

High ANCAP Safety Scores For Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Mazda 6 And Lexus ES300h

ANCAP, Australasia’s independent authority on vehicle safety, has commended the safety specification and safety performance of the newly released Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Mazda 6 and Lexus ES300h – all achieving 5 star ANCAP safety ratings.

Assessed against the latest safety standards now in play across both the Australasian and European markets, each of the vehicles achieved strong scores in all key safety areas.

“The new A-Class offers excellent all-round safety performance,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

“It has achieved the highest Vulnerable Road User Protection rating to date with a score of 92 per cent, and has equalled the highest Child Occupant Protection rating, scoring 91 per cent.”

“Side chest-protecting airbags also extend to the rear seats as a standard feature on Australasian models, where it is offered as an option to European consumers,” he said.

“The Mazda 6 performed well for its protection of adult and child occupants, however some concerns were noted for smaller occupants seated in the rear, where the pelvis of the dummy slipped beneath the lap section of the seatbelt in the full width test – known as submarining – and a penalty was applied.”

“The autonomous emergency braking capability of the Lexus ES300h was its standout feature with full points scored for its ability to detect and avoid pedestrians in all test scenarios at day and night. Strong performance was also recorded for its cyclist-detection capability,” Goodwin added.

A penalty was also applied to the Lexus for submarining of the rear occupant in the full width frontal test.

Five star ANCAP safety ratings apply to all variants of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (August 2018 onwards), Mazda 6 (June 2018 onwards) and the Lexus ES300h (September 2018 onwards).

Phase IV Falcon Breaks Ford Australian Muscle Car Record at Auction

A Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV has broken the record for a Ford Australian muscle car, selling for A$2 million at auction over the weekend.

The extremely rare, one-of-only-three-in-the-world Ford Falcon GTHO Phase IV achieved A$2 million at Lloyds auction on Saturday night, smashing the previous record price for an Aussie Ford muscle car.

“This was a fantastic result for the classic car market which is growing from strength to strength. The anonymous Australian buyer is extremely excited about owning a piece of iconic Australian history,” said Brett Mudie, Chief Marketing Officer at Lloyds Auctions.

Legendary Bathurst winner Allan Moffat dropped the hammer in a ceremonial event with enthusiastic fans, alongside the auctioneer selling one of Australia’s rarest muscle cars to its new custodian.

“It didn’t surprise me that the car sold for this amount,” continued Mudie. “We were expecting it to smash the last record quite easily, with bidding already at A$1.5 million 3 days before the auction. The Phase IV’s limited number, immaculate condition, celebrity affiliation (with links to Fred Gibson and Allan Moffat) along with its chrome bumper all contributed to the car selling at this price and will underpin its value into the future.

“With the Phase IV and more strong bidding on Phase IIIs over the weekend, it really shows that the market is continuing to strengthen with an opportunity to own an enjoyable investment that seems to be rising in value at a faster rate than property.

“There is a clear trend if you look at the number of records broken over the last six months in particular. The people buying these cars are hard-working Australians looking for a reward but also looking for something to invest in. Cars in original condition, with chrome bumpers, celebrity affiliation or prominent history are the ones that are rising in value first as we have seen again at this auction over the weekend.”

In March this year an A9X Torana SLR 5000 sold for A$365,000, doubling the original record for this type of car. In June Australian cricketer Jeff Thomson’s old Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III was the first of its kind to break A$1 million in a public sale, followed by Peter Brock’s dual Bathurst winner which more recently sold for A$2.1 million.

Hyundai i30 Fastback N Revealed In Europe

Hyundai has revealed the new 2019 i30 Fastback N in Europe ahead of its official unveiling at the 2018 Paris Motor Show next month.

The five-door Fastback N is the second high-performance model from Hyundai’s N Performance division, following on from its sibling the i30 N hot-hatch, which arrived in Australia in March.

The new i30 Fastback N wraps the high-performance capability and driver appeal of the i30 N in a newly sporty five-door GT coupe shape.

The Hyundai i30 Fastback N incorporates many of the design signatures of its hatchback sibling. The i30 Fastback shape has been merged with the features of the i30 N five-door, such as the dynamic-looking N Grille, and N front and rear bumpers, both highlighted by a red character line. A blacked-out side sill further underscores the model’s sportiness.

The i30 Fastback N’s rear visual features a twin-muffler exhaust and a cohesive rear spoiler that flows neatly into the line of the lift back. A glossy black accent is inserted to highlight the spoiler and further develop the N performance theme.

The centrepiece in the new i30 Fastback N’s crisp, understated interior is the exclusive N steering wheel with characteristic red N stitching, which ties in with red stitching on the gear shifter and seats.

The i30 Fastback N’s high-performance focus does not bring cabin compromise. High practicality and everyday usability are ensured, with a generous with 450-litre cargo area, which expands to hold 1351 litres when the rear seatbacks are folded flat.

Mercedes-Benz Launches Its First EV – The EQC

Mercedes-Benz has launched its first electric car, the EQC, in Stockholm.

Touted first at the Paris Motor Show in 2016, the new EQ-prefixed models will go into full production in 2019 in Bremen, Germany.

The EQC features an all-new drive system with compact electric drivetrains at each axle. These give the EQC the driving characteristics of an all-wheel drive vehicle.

To reduce power consumption and increase dynamics, the electric drivetrains are configured differently; the front electric motor is optimised for best possible efficiency in the low to medium load range, while the rear one determines dynamics. Together, they generate an output of 300kW and a maximum torque of 765Nm. This allows the vehicle to get to 100km/h from a standing start in 5.1 seconds and reach a governed maximum speed of 180km/h.

The lithium-ion battery, which has an energy content of 80 kWh supplies the vehicle with power, with Mercedes-Benz claiming a range of more than 450km on a full charge under Europe’s old NEDC test cycle. Real-world range is expected to be slightly lower.

Mercedes-Benz says the EQC meets the highest requirements with respect to passive safety. In addition to the usual extensive programme of crash tests, the company says it applies further, particularly-stringent safety standards to the battery and all component parts carrying electrical current. The vehicle structure of the EQC has been adapted to suit the special requirements of the electrical components and battery and is “configured to achieve the usual high safety level”.

Mechanical protection of the battery begins with the installation position of the high-voltage battery beneath the vehicle floor, where it is surrounded by a stable frame that can absorb impact energy. Deformation elements are installed between the frame and the battery, and these are able to absorb additional forces in the event of a severe side impact. A battery guard in the front area is able to prevent the energy storage unit from being pierced by foreign objects. Placement of the heavy battery at the bottom of the car improves the vehicle’s centre of gravity, ensuring a stable and dynamic ride.

Electrical protection of the high-voltage system consists of a multi-stage safety concept that deploys in the event of an accident. The high-voltage system automatically shuts down, reversibly or irreversibly, according to the severity of the accident. There are also shutdown points where emergency teams can deactivate the high-voltage system manually.