Tesla Earns Top Safety Award From IIHS For Model 3

Tesla has earned the Top Safety Pick+ award for its 2019 Model 3 from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s the highest award that the IIHS awards vehicles and was obtained by receiving ‘good’ and above ratings across the board in all test categories. The Model 3 joins one other all-electric plug-in vehicle, the Audi e-tron, with the highest safety award.

“Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own,” said IIHS Chief Research Officer, David Zuby. “There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”

The Model 3 earned good ratings across the board for crashworthiness. Its standard front crash prevention system earned a superior rating, avoiding collisions in both the 19 km/h and 40 km/h IIHS track tests, while its headlights earned a good rating. The car generally held up well in the driver-side small overlap front test, but the lower door-hinge pillar moved in eight inches, while the door sill buckled.

The Model 3 is the second plug-in vehicle without a petrol engine to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award after the Audi e-tron. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Nexo became the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to earn an award from the IIHS. Like the Model 3 and the e-tron, the Nexo, a midsize luxury SUV, qualifies for Top Safety Pick+ based on standard equipment.

The Nexo is one of three fuel cell vehicles that are commercially available in California, which has promoted the technology and is the only US state with a network of retail hydrogen fuelling stations.

Euro NCAP Awards Five-Star Ratings To Seven Vehicles

Euro NCAP has awarded five-star safety ratings to seven car models: Mercedes-Benz’s first electric car, the EQC, along with its second generation CLA; Škoda’s Kamiq; the fourth generation SsangYong Korando; BMW’s latest Z4; and the new Audi A1. In addition, the Ford Focus – already tested in 2018 – has been reassessed after minor updates and achieved a five-star rating too.

The C-segment Korando SUV is the first five-star car from SsangYong and comes standard with automated emergency braking (AEB), bringing it into line with its competitors.

The Škoda Kamiq is essentially a high-riding Scala, and shares a five-star rating and similar results to the car tested earlier this year.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC achieved good all-round performance during testing as part of its five-star rating.

The latest Mercedes-Benz CLA scored higher than 90 per cent in three of the four areas of safety assessed by Euro NCAP.

BMW’s two-seater Z4 roadster scored well all-round, but its protection of vulnerable road users was especially impressive with an active bonnet that lifts when a pedestrian is hit.

Audi’s A1 performed well in safety tests, featuring its Pre Sense Front technology as standard fit in its AEB system.

Finally, the Ford Focus achieved five stars in 2018, but its front-seat whiplash protection meant it could now capitalise on good results for its AEB system. Ford has improved the design of the seats and head restraints and the car now demonstrates good whiplash protection in rear-end collisions.

Volkswagen do Brasil Develops Its First Vehicle For Overseas Markets

Volkswagen do Brasil will develop a vehicle completely in-house to be produced later in Europe and sold in other international markets.

Volkswagen hopes to strengthen the economic significance of Volkswagen do Brasil with the regionalisation of the South American market. Through 2020, Volkswagen is investing approximately R$7 billion in Brazil for the development of new products, digitalisation and technological innovations and began in 2016. This is based on a restructuring program introduced by Volkswagen to support business opportunities in the South American market.

“The internationalisation of Volkswagen began 60 years ago with construction of the plant in Anchieta, Brazil,” said Ralf Brandstaetter, Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen Passenger Cars. “South America has been an important market for Volkswagen ever since. We are strengthening our regionalisation strategy with these investments.”

Under its regionalisation strategy, the company launched a product offensive with 20 new models for Brazil as the key market in the region.

“For the first time in our history, we will be offering our very own vehicle concept on the international market, and sharing design, technology and know-how from Brazil with the world,” said Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of Volkswagen Latin America.

The vehicle premiere is planned for spring 2020. Production will commence at the Anchieta plant in the same year and the vehicle will also be built in Europe from 2021.

Volkswagen Golf GTI To Be Auctioned For Charity

A unique Volkswagen Golf GTI is being auctioned on eBay from 8pm until 5 September, with proceeds to be donated to the Cancer Council.

The Golf GTI has been donated by Volkswagen to launch the brand’s partnership with the Cancer Council, Australia’s not-for-profit body for cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support.

The Golf was wrapped by street artist Jason Woodside, a graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts.

“With one in two Australians diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, we value relationships, like this one, that provide new opportunities for our community to support our vital work,” said Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO of Cancer Council. “We are grateful to Volkswagen for their generous support in helping drive our vision of a cancer free future.”

Volkswagen Australia Director of Customer Experience and Marketing, Jason Bradshaw, said that the company was proud and privileged to partner with the organisation that is the “leading light” in the fight against a disease that affects millions of Australians.

“Cancer Council is the only charity that covers every aspect of every cancer, from research to prevention and support services,” said Bradshaw. “It operates across Australia in the communities of each of our dealerships.

“Through a range of campaigns and events, our partnership will help Cancer Council continue their life-saving work, moving towards a vision of a cancer free future.”

On 5 October, Volkswagen dealers nationally will host Australia’s Biggest Car Wash, in which members of the public can have their vehicles cleaned and vacuumed for a $10 fee. All proceeds will go to the Cancer Council’s Transport to Treatment service.

The Golf GTI auction has a reserve price of $40,000. To bid, visit www.ebaystores.com.au/bidforgood/golf-gti.

Nissan Releases 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition

Nissan is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nissan 370Z with a special variant.

The limited edition 370Z is powered by a 3.7 litre V6 engine, which outputs 245kW of power and 363Nm of torque. There is also the choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shifters and adaptive shift control.

This special model has the following exterior updates:

  • 50th anniversary badging on the rear of the car and the surrounds of the indicators on the front quarter panels;
  • White body with red bonnet, a-pillars that connect through to the boot, side mirrors and two signature stripes on the side of the car, or
  • Silver body with black bonnet, a-pillars that connect through to the boot, side mirrors and two signature stripes on the side of the car;
  • Along the side of the car, a thin line runs from the headlight to the rear glass, culminating in a small triangle inspired by the C-pillar of the Datsun 240Z;
  • Updated 19-inch wheels incorporating red rings

The interior has also received changes including red highlights that add to the premium feel of the cabin. It includes:

  • Red leather mesh on the seats with 50th anniversary wreath around the Z logo
  • Red stitching on the doors, knee pad, C-cluster and steering wheel, with the steering wheel also adding the red centre mark
  • Red highlights on the shift knob and shifter boot, plus 50th anniversary logo
  • A 50th anniversary logo on the tachometer
  • Dark chrome Z logo on the kick plates, along with a black finisher

“The Nissan 370Z is an iconic car with a strong following in Australia,” said Stephen Lester, Nissan Australia Managing Director. “Since its arrival here we’ve sold almost 22,000 Zs, and this 50th anniversary commemorative edition is sure to attract passionate Z fans and buyers.”

The 50th Anniversary Edition comes with satellite navigation, a seven-inch touch screen infotainment system and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also includes keyless entry, push button start, Bluetooth handsfree phone and cruise control as standard.

The Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition is on sale now, priced at $53,490 for the manual variant, and $55,990 for the automatic alternative. Both variants are before on-road costs.

Daimler Facing More Than One Billion Euro Fine For Diesel Cheating

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is facing a fine of up to one billion euros for diesel emission-related violations according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

The German motor vehicle authority (KBA) had discovered software deemed to be illegal under existing European Union law fitted to Mercedes-Benz C-class and E-class vehicles and ordered the car company to recall 280,000 vehicles, according to the Der Spiegel article.

The software is claimed to allow diesel-powered C- and E-class models to achieve lower NOx and CO2 emissions in controlled climatic conditions at pre-set speeds on a rolling road during testing than in practice on public roads.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the investigation was ongoing and would not be concluded before year-end. Der Spiegel says a fine of up to 5000 Euros per vehicle is being considered by the Stuttgart public prosecutor.

Hyundai Launches Solar Roof Charging System

Hyundai is launching its first car with a solar roof charging system. The company says the technology will provide vehicles with additional electrical power, as well as increasing fuel efficiency and driving range.

The solar roof charging system will first feature in the latest generation Sonata Hybrid to support the vehicle’s electric power source, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. In the coming years, Hyundai says it will roll out the technology to other vehicles across its range.

“Solar roof technology is a good example of how Hyundai Motor is moving towards becoming a clean mobility provider,” said Heui Won Yang, Senior Vice President and head of the Body Tech Unit of Hyundai Motor Group. “The technology allows our customers to actively tackle emissions issues. We are striving to further expand the application of the technology beyond eco-friendly vehicle line up to vehicles with internal combustion engine.”

Hyundai says the solar roof can charge 30 to 60 per cent of the battery per day with 6 hours of daily charging, and is capable of functioning while the car is in motion. Hyundai expects the roof to increase drivers’ travel distance by an extra 1300km annually.

The system is composed of a solar panel and a controller. Electricity is produced when solar energy – photons of light from the sun – activates the panel’s surface. The electron-hole pairs in silicon cells are then created, and the photons are converted into electricity. The electricity is then converted to the right voltage by the controller, and then stored in the battery.

The new Sonata is now on sale in Korea and will soon be sold in North America. Hyundai says it currently has no plans to expand sales to the European market.

Holden To Bring New Corvette To Australia

General Motors Holden has confirmed that the next generation mid-engine Corvette will be built in right-hand-drive and will be made available in Australia.

“Like anyone with a hint of petrol in their veins, we were glued to our screens watching the reveal of the new Corvette,” said Dave Buttner, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden. “The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand-drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high performance cars.

“With our long history in motor-racing, performance vehicles are an indelible part of the Holden brand. Our team is totally revved up to build on Holden’s performance legacy with the most technologically advanced Corvette ever built.

“We look forward to taking on the European and Japanese performance vehicles with some highly sophisticated American muscle.”

“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout. In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”

The new mid-engine layout gives the Corvette:

  • Better weight distribution, with the rear weight bias enhancing performance in a straight line and on the track.
  • Better responsiveness and sense of control due to driver positioning closer to the front axle, almost on top of the front wheels.
  • The fastest 0-100km/h time of any entry Corvette — approximately three seconds when equipped with Z51 package.
  • A race car-like view of the road due to lower positioning of the bonnet, instrument panel and steering wheel. Excellent forward sightlines throughout the vehicle for both driver and passenger.
  • An enhancement of the Corvette’s traditional utility strengths with dual boots, ideal for luggage or two sets of golf clubs.

“As America’s most iconic performance nameplate, redesigning the Corvette from the ground up presented the team a historic opportunity, something Chevrolet designers have desired for over 60 years,” said Mike Simcoe, Vice President of Global Design, General Motors. “It is now the best of America, a new arrival in the mid-engine sports car class. We know Corvette can stand tall with the best the world has to offer.”

The new location of the engine is visible through the large rear hatch window. GM says the Corvette’s canopy-forward stance was inspired by F22s, F35s and other modern fighter jets, along with Formula One racing, adding that the Corvette is designed for superior ride comfort on the highway and well-balanced handling on the track.

“Thanks to sophisticated suspension geometry, tailored tyre technology and exquisite attention to structural details, we have improved ride and handling,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Executive Chief Engineer. “No Corvette has ever felt so comfortable, nimble and yet completely stable.”

The new Corvette is powered by the LT2 ‘small block’ 6.2L V8 engine, producing 369 kW of power and 637 Nm of torque when equipped with performance exhaust. The LT2 is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and features double-paddles on the steering wheel for a ‘different’ shifting experience.

“Though now placed behind the driver, the LT2 gives the same visceral experience we all expect from Corvette,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s Global Chief Engineer of Small Block engines. “The LT2 has been designed to deliver excellent low-end torque and high-end power to give thrilling pedal response at any RPM.”

New Corvette production begins at GM’s Bowling Green facility in late 2019. Holden said it will share further details about Corvette in Australia at a later date.

Lotus Unveils Evija Production Car

British sports car manufacturer Lotus has unveiled the Evija, the world’s first all-electric British hypercar, at an event in London.

The event, hosted at the Royal Horticultural Halls, was made up of international automotive, business, technology and design media, plus a host of UK business leaders, corporate and commercial partners, government officials, Lotus employees, racing drivers and other distinguished friends of the brand.

Phil Popham, Lotus Cars CEO, and Russell Carr, Design Director, presented the two-seater EV hypercar to the audience. Popham described it as a bold statement of intent from the iconic British company, illustrative of its ambition under the stewardship of Geely.

“Evija will re-establish Lotus as a leader in terms of engineering and design. It is a hypercar that is built ‘For The Drivers’,” said Popham.

“The Evija is beyond anything Lotus has ever done… beyond anything I’ve ever done. We have created something beautiful, something new, dramatic and unique,” said Carr.

“Our auto industry has long been a source of national pride,” said Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business who attended the unveiling. “The launch of the UK’s first all-electric hypercar, designed, engineered and built here in the UK, is testament to the skills and expertise of the workforce at Lotus.”

“A key part of our modern industrial strategy is to seize the opportunities of the future of mobility, including the move from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles. The Lotus Evija fits with this clear ambition.”

Further speeches were made by An Conghui, President of Geely Holding Group and CEO of Geely Auto, and by Ma Hui, Minister at the Chinese Embassy, London.

The Evija is the first all-electric British hypercar, the first Lotus with an electrified powertrain and the first new model since Geely took control in 2017. It has been designed and engineered in the UK and will be produced at Hethel, UK, with a total of 130 to be built. The Evija has a target output of 1471kW, 1700Nm of torque and sprints from 0-100km/h in under three seconds. It has a maximum speed in excess of 320km/h.

The Evija has a driving range of 400km and requires 18 minutes to charge with a 350kW charger, but has the ability to accept up to 800kW of charge. It’s priced from £1,700,000 plus duties and taxes. A £250,000 deposit secures a production slot and order books are now open through www.lotuscars.com.

News of the unveil event spread on social media as the car was unveiled. Within 12 hours, videos of the Evija had been viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube. Buzz around the Evija’s debut was also whipped up amongst fans thanks to a convoy of 12 historic and current Lotus sports cars – all yellow – which had driven around Central London during the afternoon.

“The world premiere of the Evija has been nothing short of spectacular, the perfect way to start a new chapter in this iconic company’s history.  I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved,” said Phil Popham as the event drew to a close.

“The Evija is a seismic shift for Lotus and signifies the rebirth of one of the UK’s most renowned sports car marques. It will act as a halo for the thrilling new range of Lotus performance cars that will follow.”

Groupe Renault And JMCG Establish Joint Venture For EVs In China

Groupe Renault and Jiangling Motors Corporation Group (JMCG) have announced the official establishment of their joint venture to further promote the development of the EV industry in China.

Groupe Renault will increase its share capital by RMB 1 billion to become a major shareholder of JMEV, a subsidiary of JMCG, with a 50 per cent stake. JMEV has already completed its business license registration.

Groupe Renault aims to expand its influence in China’s electric vehicle market through the joint venture, while JMCG wants to integrate and leverage more resources to promote rapid growth in the future.

“China is a key market for Groupe Renault,” said Francois Provost, Senior Vice President, Chairman of China Region, Groupe Renault. “This partnership in [the] electric vehicle business with JMCG will support our growth plan in China and our EV capabilities. As a pioneer and leader in the European EV market since 10 years, we will capitalise on our experience in EV R&D, production, sales and services.”

“Adhering to the concept of openness and cooperation, JMCG is one of the first domestic enterprises to introduce international strategic partners,” said Qiu Tiangao, Chairman of JMCG. “By partnering with Groupe Renault, JMEV will be able to elevate its comprehensive competitiveness to a new level and penetrate into China’s electric vehicle market.”

JMEV was set up in 2015 and quickly obtained certification to manufacture battery electric passenger vehicles, becoming a prominent player in China’s electric vehicle market.