More stories

  • in

    Sony Electric Car Starts Public Road Testing – 1 Year After Its Reveal

    Sony Electric Car
    Vision-S electric car features a technology that alters the temperature of the cabin depending on the driver’s behaviour

    Electric vehicles are the new normals in the automotive world. Every now and then we hear about a new electric car being developed and tested around some corner of the world. But when we hear a name like Sony being attached to a car, everyone sits up to take notice of it.
    Yes, Sony indeed has been developing an electric car which the world came to know about a year ago when it was unveiled at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 as Vision-S electric car concept. A new video from the Japanese tech giant shows that a prototype of the car has taken to the roads for testing.
    The video shows a prototype of the EV wearing a camouflage-style wrap and a number plate being tested on the snowy roads of Austria with alpine woods covered in snow. The company has its engineering center in Graz, Austria.
    After its maiden appearance at CES in January 2020, the prototype moved to Tokyo in July 2020 for advancing its sensing and audio technologies. Though testing on public roads has already begun, the EV does not go on sale anytime soon.
    [embedded content]
    Specs- No lag in performance surely
    Information about the Vision-S electric car has been scarce. The specs announced on the concept car included a dual-motor with an all-wheel-drive setup generating an output of 536 bhp, 0-100 kmph acceleration time of 4.8 seconds and a claimed top speed of 240 kmph. At the time of its unveiling, Sony admitted that the Vision-S concept was developed as a means to showcase the company’s in-car entertainment and autonomous driving systems.
    Features and Technologies galore on Sony Vision-S
    As expected, the tech giant has packed the prototype with high-end technologies including camera sensors and more. Speaking of technologies, Sony has equipped the Vision-S prototype with 40 sensors both inside as well as outside instead of the originally intended 33 claimed at ACE last year in order to enhance its autonomous driving capabilities. These sensors include Solid State LiDAR for day and object detection and night-time vision and CMOs image sensors which help in object detection, colour identification and road sensing.
    Elaborating further on the technology part, the most eye-grabbing moment is a large widescreen encompassing the entire dashboard. The cabin also features cameras which continuously monitor driver and passenger facial expressions, gestures, and lip reading.
    Sony Electric Car Dashboard
    Another highlight is 360 Reality Audio which offers an immersive audio experience. The infotainment system also offers a 5G connectivity which also allows one to play your favourite game on PlaySation.
    Currently, the prototype has been equipped with Level 2 autonomous driving technology with features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic lane changing and a self-parking system. However, with improvement in technology in the coming future, Sony intends the final production car to be equipped with Level 4 ability which means full self-driving capabilities.
    Other details
    Some of its technology on board seemed to have been developed in association with its partners including Blackberry, Bosch, Magna Steyr, Nvidia and others. In terms of dimension, the Vision-S prototype measures 4,895 mm in length, 1,900 mm in width and 1,450 mm in height. It offers a wheelbase of 3000 mm and stands at a ground clearance of 120 mm (up to 135mm). If and when this car actually hits the road, it will be nothing less than a spectacle. More

  • in

    Tata Nexon EV Becomes No 1 Selling Electric Car In India For 2020

    New Tata Nexon Electric
    Tata Nexon EV is the best selling electric car in India

    As Tata Motors gets set to celebrate 1 year of the launch of the Nexon electric compact SUV in India, the company has announced sales of 2600+ units for the year 2020. It may be remembered that while the Nexon EV was launched on 28th January, 2020, sales only took off from March after which the lockdown was immediately announced.
    This ‘Made in India’ electric car then slowly saw its sales increasing from May 2020 with sales at 78 units. It noted a significant increase each month thereafter to 1,253 units between the months of October to December 2020, thus taking total to 2,602 units. December proved to be the best month of sales with 418 units sold. The Nexon EV is the best selling electric car in India.
    Tata Motors had also introduced a Subscription Plan for the Nexon in August 2020. The company further brought down monthly subscription rates in September and December, thus making the Nexon more appealing to a new segment of customers.
    The subscription plan is currently on offer in Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Hyderabad. The plans now begin from Rs.29,500 per month and offered only on the mid spec XZ+ variant.
    Electric Car Sales 2020. MS = Market Share
    Sales of Other Electric Cars
    In terms of rivals, Nexon has no real rival in the price segment it is offered. In terms of sales, electric vehicles such as the Mahindra eVerito and Hyundai Kona electric are no match. It is only the MG ZS EV that offers some competition to the Nexon with sales at 1,243 units sold from Feb to Dec 2020.
    The Kona EV has seen sales of around 200 units with buyers wary after hearing of issues of fire risk and breakdowns. Tata Nexon will soon meet with some challenges with the new Mahindra eKUV300 poised for launch later this year. The Mahindra eKUV300 will come in at around Rs 9 lakhs with a FAME II subsidy.
    Sales of the Nexon EV were also boosted following orders received from EESL for 150 units of the Nexon EV and 100 units of the Hyundai Kona EV. EESL stated their preference for the XZ+ variant of the Tata Nexon at Rs.14.86 lakhs and the entry level Premium variant of the Kona EV priced at Rs.21.36 lakhs, ex-sh. Current market price of these two are Rs 15.25 lakhs and Rs 23.75 lakhs. Kona MY2020 is being offered with Rs 1.5 lakh discount.
    A refreshed Tata Tigor EV is also doing the test rounds ahead of launch. The Tigor EV is expected to launch sometime in mid-2021 while later this year and the Tata Altroz EV is also set for launch with prices lower than that of the Nexon which could boost EV sales for the company. More

  • in

    Hyundai Kona Electric Rs 1.5 Lakh Discount Jan 2021 – Grand i10 NIOS, Santro, Elantra

    Hyundai Kona Electric MY2020 Gets Rs 1.5 Lakh Discount
    Hyundai currently offers as many as eleven products in the Indian market including Venue, Creta, Grand i10 Nios, i20 and Verna

    Hyundai Motors India Ltd. (HMIL) is offering heavy discounts at the start of a new year. Under the company’s New Year offers, several of its models are being offered with attractive benefits. This even includes its electric crossover Kona Electric.
    This is the first time that the South Korean automaker is offering its EV with a sizeable benefit ever since it was launched in India back in 2019. Hyundai is offering a cash discount of a whopping Rs 1.5 lakh. The EV is currently retailed at a starting price of Rs 23.75 lakh and goes up to Rs 23.94 lakh (both prices ex-showroom).
    It is to be noted that the discount is only valid on 2020 model year and not on the 2021 model year. White colour Kona EV 2020 MY is offered with Rs 50k discount, while any other colour comes with a flat Rs 1.5 lakh cash discount.
    Benefits on Santro, Grand i10 Nios
    Hyundai’s entry-level model Santro is also being offered with attractive benefits. It is being offered with an exchange bonus of Rs 15,000 across its range. While the base model is being offered with a cash discount of Rs 10,000, higher Magna, Sports and Asta trims are being offered with a discount of Rs 20,000. Similarly, Grand i10 Nios is offered with an exchange bonus of Rs 10,000 across its range except for diesel-powered variants.
    Hyundai India Discounts – Jan 2021
    The 1.2-litre petrol and CNG variants of Grand i10 are offered with a cash discount of Rs 5000 whereas the turbo petrol variant is being offered with a healthy discount of Rs 25,000. Its sedan sibling Aura is offered with an exchange bonus of Rs 15,000 across the range.
    Its naturally aspirated petrol and diesel-powered variants are offered with an additional cash discount of Rs 10,000 whereas the turbo petrol-powered variant is offered with a cash discount of Rs 30,000.
    Recent Price Hike
    The manufacturer, however, is not offering any sort of benefits for models such as the new generation i20, Venue, Verna, Creta and Tucson. The company recently hiked prices for all its offerings in India. The price hike ranged from Rs. 7,521 to Rs. 32,880 and took effect from the first day of 2021.
    Upcoming Models
    Among new launches, the latest addition to Hyundai’s lineup was the third generation i20 which was launched in November 2020. The premium hatchback competes with the likes of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Tata Altroz, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo. The brand has also lined up a few more launches in the coming future which includes a seven-seater version of Creta and a Tata HBX rivalling subcompact UV codenamed AX1. More

  • in

    Mercedes S Class Electric Car’s Full Dashboard Curved Display Unveiled

    Mercedes Benz Hyperscreen
    Mercedes EQS electric limousine will be the first production vehicle to receive MBUX Hyperscreen

    For the electric version of new S-Class, Mercedes has come up with a new-age dashboard made entirely of a curved display screen that spans across the width of the cabin. Called the MBUX Hyperscreen, the new piece of technology incorporates three screens into one. This could redefine automotive dashboards in the foreseeable future.
    Mercedes MBUX Hyperscreen
    The MBUX Hyperscreen incorporates three displays – the instrument panel, infotainment system, and an entertainment screen for the front passenger. The central and front passenger displays benefit from OLED technology for better picture quality and pack in haptic feedback.
    As you can imagine, fabricating such a sophisticated plastic panel loaded with multiple elements requires a special process. The curved unit is moulded in three dimensions using a special three-layer coating which Mercedes calls as the ‘Silver Shadow’. The company claims that the process renders the display unit a high quality surface impression while reducing reflection and making cleaning easier.
    With the help of ambient lighting, the MBUX Hyperscreen gives an optical illusion of floating. Provisions for the AC vents on given on both sides of the single-piece panel.
    Mercedes Benz Hyperscreen
    Based on an evolution of the current Mercedes S Class’ operating system, the Hyperscreen’s software architecture is claimed to be radically easy to operate and ‘extremely eager’ learn. Thanks to the AI, the system adopts a zero-layer menu system which displays relevant information at required time based on user preferences thereby avoiding the need to scroll through several items or use voice command.
    According to data collected by Mercedes from the earlier generation of the MBUX system, the most commonly used features include navigation, media and telephone which are integrated into the central display. The AI offers as many as twenty additional features as and when the user requires them. Examples include seat ventilation, massage, location-based suspension ride height increase.
    The passenger side of the screen also can support up to 7 custom profiles with the AI improving the overall experience. This display is subjected to country-specific safety regulations. When not entertaining the front passenger, that part of the screen turns into an animated display of stars to enhance the overall ambiance.
    [embedded content]
    The Mercedes MBUX Hyperscreen will be an optional extra in the eagerly anticipated EQS electric luxury limousine which is slated to be launched later this year. The same piece of equipment is expected to be offered by the upcoming EQS SUV as well. Knowing Mercedes, the Hyperscreen will eventually make its journey down the product portfolio.
    Mercedes has been a trend setter when it comes to interior design and technology. We won’t be surprised to see similar dashboard features from other OEMs in the coming years. More

  • in

    Maruti WagonR Electric Car Launch Plans Cancelled

    Maruti WagonR Electric Test Mule Spied Recently Near Company Plant
    Back in 2018, 50 test mules of the WagonR electric car were flagged off by Maruti Suzuki – To be tested across India

    Maruti Suzuki WagonR Electric has been one of the most spotted, yet to be launched EV on Indian roads. Test mules of WagonR Electric have been captured all across the country, including in hill stations like Kufri where Maruti would have been trying to do sub 0 temperature testing.
    Launch of this electric car was expected to take place in 2020. But that did not happen, Covid19 pandemic was believed to be the reason. But now, a new report from Economic Times claims that the plan to launch WagonR electric in India has been shelved. This comes at a time when the test mules of WagonR electric or what was claimed to be XL5 EV, continues to be on test near company plant in Manesar.
    Techno Commercial Viability Issues
    The Maruti EV project had already faced multiple delays in the past. Though there is no update from Maruti Suzuki, ET’s sources have confirmed that the company has decided to halt the project due to “techno-commercial viability issues”. The WagonR Electric was going to have considerable number of imported components which would have led to increase in its costing.
    With the increase in costs, Maruti wasn’t sure if the pricing of the product could be appropriate for it to become a big number churner. Most Maruti products manage good monthly sales of 3-4K units or more. Hence, Maruti didn’t want to bring in the WagonR EV if it would have been able to manage just triple digit sales.
    Maruti WagonR electric test mules in Nov 2018
    Interestingly, Toyota was also planning on an EV for India which would have been based on the Maruti EV, however with the discontinuation of WagonR EV, the Toyota’s project also will get shelved. As per earlier report, Maruti had plans to launch WagonR electric at Rs 12 lakhs. Interestingly, Tata launched an electric SUV at Rs 14 lakhs last year.
    Journey Till Now
    Maruti had started the WagonR electric project in 2018 by commencing testing on 50 units of WagonR which were based on the model sold in Japan. Later in 2019, Maruti built new prototypes too which were based on the Indian WagonR and continued with testing.
    Way Ahead
    While the WagonR project has been shelved, Maruti will still be looking forward to bringing in an electric car for the Indian market later in the future. We expect that the new Maruti EV for Indian market will now come around 2023 and it might land up being a cross-over or an SUV, considering the growing liking of Indian customers for those body types.
    In the meanwhile, Suzuki has set up a dedicated Lithium-ion battery plant in Gujarat which shall start operations around mid-2021. This plant will help Suzuki to plan on full-hybrid and EVs in the future, and additionally provide the cost-advantage through heavy localization of components.
    Source More

  • in

    Mumbai Traffic Signal With LEDs On Traffic Pole – A First In The City

    LED Traffic Lights on Poles in Worli, Mumbai
    New traffic signal at Worli Sea Face is a BMC pilot project

    A pilot project executed on Worli Sea Face in Mumbai, sees traffic lights in a new light. In essence, instead the usual setting of traffic signal lights, the current endeavour makes for improved traffic light visibility.
    The light parameter covers larger surface area as the lighting pole itself has been reworked. Fitted with LED lights means for every light change, the complete pole lights up instead of the traditional light setting overhead at intersections.
    The project was undertaken by BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation). While the project is only visible as a single unit at present, plans are on to introduce more such lights. Apart from functional benefits, the new traffic signal design is being touted for its ‘aesthetic appeal’. Challenges faced included bending the LED lights as required, and synchronising it with the traffic signal system.
    Novelty at traffic signals
    Overall, the idea behind the project tries to touch upon quite a few birds with a stone. The project idea is still being fine-tuned. An attempt is being made to turn to solar signals to make this a sustainable and environment-friendly approach. The cost effective solution does in the meantime make a larger street area glow.
    [embedded content]
    Last year, in another independent project, Hyderabad’s KBR Park junction saw new LED speed breakers installed at traffic signals across the road itself. Sadly, there’s no current update regarding what the outcome of that project has been.
    In its current stage, if the pilot proves to be successful, more such unidirectional traffic lights are expected to be introduced. Focus on Work Sea Face doesn’t end here.
    Mumbai Police with Freego self balancing vehicle
    In another development, self balancing vehicles have been introduced for area patrols in the promenade. Similar to what was earlier introduced at Marine Drive. The self balancing electric scooters have for long wowed audiences for its fun aspect. Current developments appear to be small steps being undertaken to modernise traditional practices.
    Pedestrian and road traffic safety in India
    Added visibility of the newly installed traffic lights in Mumbai would help motorists spot the signal from a distance, and thereby could improve pedestrian safety. If the theory can be backed by studies, it could provide insight into effectiveness of improved traffic signal visibility. For a nation that bears the burden of most road accident fatalities, every little bit helps.
    While the country doesn’t report the highest number of traffic accidents in a year, it does account for most lives lost owing to accidents. The extremely high human cost points to an immediate need to remedy the problem. India accounts for less than 3 percent of all vehicles, but does account for 12 percent of the world’s road deaths. World Health Organization (WHO) estimated almost 300,000 road accident deaths in India in 2018. The number of underprivileged who suffer is disproportionately high. More

  • in

    Tata Nexon Electric Owner Shares Range, Battery Details – After 220 kms Road Trip

    Tata Nexon Electric
    One major concern for electric car owners is its single-charge range especially in India where charging stations are limited

    Tata Nexon Electric is the most popular electric car in the Indian market currently. The prime reason being its popularity is its affordability. Offered at a starting price of Rs 13.99 lakh and going up to Rs 16.25 lakh (both prices ex-showroom), it is the most affordable electric car out of the limited options currently.
    In a country, where EVs are still at a nascent stage with limited charging infrastructure, its single-charge range becomes extremely crucial especially for consumers who love to go on long trips out of the city. On previous occasions, Nexon EV has returned an average single-charge range in a region between 170-180 km.
    Details of Journey & Power Cosnumed
    However, in the latest case, a Nexon EV owner, Manu M has managed to obtain a range beyond 220 kms. In a post on Facebook, Manu M shares details of his journey with his family from his home in Thevalakkara, Kollam to Aazhimala temple, Trivandrum in Kerala and the return journey on the electric UV.
    On 27th December 2020, Manu went on a road trip with his parents with the total journey covering a distance of 220.6 km. Starting with a fully charged battery, the onwards journey marked the owner covering 109.7 km.
    Tata Nexon Electric Road Trip Details
    During this, battery level dropped from 100 percent to 52 percent at the end of the first half of the journey. This meant that the car consumed an average of 114 Wh/km during the first half while the owner stated that the last 5-10 km consisted of steep climbs which could have consumed more energy.
    Recharging the battery
    On his return journey, the owner covered 90.7 km before stopping to recharge Nexon’s battery which had fallen from 52 percent to 17 percent. In this part of the journey, the electric crossover consumed an average of 128 Wh/km. Using a DC fast charger, the owner juiced up the battery pack from 17 percent to 95 percent in 1 hour and 21 minutes and consuming 25.5 kWh of power. The fast charging he used, is free till 9th Feb 2021.
    Tata Nexon Electric Fast Charging
    In the final leg of the journey, the owner covered a distance of 20.1 km consuming 123 Wh/km while the battery level dropped from 95 percent to 86 percent. The owner adds that during the entire journey, the air conditioner was on and the family took 3-4 stoppages in between. These values can vary depending on driving nature, traffic and terrain.
    Available in three trims- XM, XZ+ and XZ+ Lux, Nixon EV is offered with Tata’s Ziptron EV powertrain technology which consists of an electric motor paired to a 30.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack providing a claimed range of 312 km and an output of 127 bhp and 245 Nm of peak torque. The battery pack gets an IP67 waterproof and an eight year standard warranty. More

  • in

    2021 Tata Nano Electric Spied With Digital Speedometer – Jayem Neo

    Tata Nano Electric – Jayem Neo
    The Tata Nano EV with standard airbag and ABS would be an interesting proposition in the current scenario

    Back in November 2017, Tata Motors and its long-standing collaborator Jayem Automotives announced a partnership to introduce electric version of the Tata Nano under the Jayem Neo brand. The Neo was originally supposed to be inducted into Ola Electric’s fleet with a reported order size of 400 units.
    After a delay of almost 2 years, in mid-2019, it was reported that Ola Electric secured a debt fund of INR 40 cr from Tata Motors Finance to purchase Jayem Neo EV as city taxi. Now, a 2021 Tata Nano electric test mule has been spotted in Akurdi, Pune.
    Tata Nano EV / Jayem Neo yet to see the light of day
    It’s been over three years since the first announcement but the Tata Nano EV a.k.a. Jayem Neo has neither been introduced as an urban taxi nor as a private vehicle. However, it seems Tata and Jayem haven’t completely ditched the project as evident from the recent spotting of an undisguised Neo test mule. Spy shots are credit to Pravin Nair, who shared the images on Rushlane Spylane Facebook Group.
    As far as design is concerned, the Jayem Neo is identical to the now-defunct Tata Nano but it does not feature Tata branding anywhere. This particular mule features black bumper to keep the costs low. Closer observation reveals that the Neo EV is equipped with a fully digital instrument display which is mounted above the center console.
    [embedded content]
    Based on the spy video from Smiley Tamilian Tech above, the Tata Nano EV is powered by a 17.7 kW, 48V (23 hp) electric motor supplied by Electra EV, which also supplies electric powertrain to Tiago and Tigor. According to the original arrangement made 3 years ago, Tata Motors was supposed supply Jayem with complete body panels of the car and the Coimbatore-based company was supposed to install the electric powertrain and retail it.
    Tata Motors discontinued the Nano as the poor demand did not justify re-engineering the vehicle to meet the latest vehicle safety norms. However, if the company still hopes to leverage the small car’s untapped potential in the emerging electric vehicle market, then a comprehensive safety update is necessary.
    Tata Nano Electric Specs
    Launch Plans
    Whether it is going to be marketed as Tata Nano EV or Jayem Neo, the urban runabout would have to be fitted with driver airbag, ABS, front passenger seat belt reminder and reverse parking sensor as standard. Top speed will be 85 kmph. It is also FAME II certified.
    The Tata Nano Electric will have a maximum range of 203 km. With AC on and 4 adults on board, the vehicle should return a range of around 140 km. We think that, with a silent powertrain and appropriate marketing strategy, the Tata Nano EV could be an interesting proposition as both urban taxi and a private vehicle. More