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    Renault Kiger LED DRLs Teased – New Electric Car Prototype Unveiled

    2021 Renault Kiger SUV – Teaser
    Along with teasing the upcoming Kiger small SUV in production spec form, Renault has also revealed their new electric car prototype

    With global debut set for 28th Jan 2021, the new Renault Kiger has now been officially teased in production ready form. From the teaser image, it is clear that the production ready Kiger carries the LED DRL and projector headlamps from the concept which was revealed back in November.
    Kiger Debut
    With compact and subcompact SUVs being highly popular in the Indian markets, automakers are heralding in various models in this segment. Kiger will be based on the same platform as the Magnite, which has met huge sales success in India.
    The Renault Kiger and the Nissan Magnite will be produced at the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s production base in Oragadam, Tamil Nadu. The Kiger will enter the sub 4 meter segment wherein it will take on the Kia Sonet, Hyundai Venue, Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon, Maruti Brezza, etc in terms of competition.
    Renault 5 Electric Car
    Renault has unveiled its upcoming retro-styled electric car called ‘5’. Renault 5 Prototype Electric Car gives a look into the future small EV from Renault, which is set to go on sale by the middle of this decade. The car takes its design and styling cues from the R5 hatchback which was in production from 1972 to 1996. It is among the fourteen new models which are expected to hit showrooms by 2025.
    Renault 5 Prototype carries numerous references to the original model including the R5 Turbo versions and cult classic Supercinq albeit in a modern touch
    Seven of these fourteen models are going to be fully electric vehicles. The new concept blends with its namesake’s boxy proportions with a modern and contemporary design which includes high-tech displays, LED lighting signatures and sculpted side surfaces expected out of a modern car.
    Exterior Design Highlights
    Upfront, the B-segment concept car features LED headlight clusters flanked by the French brand’s diamond-shaped emblem with no radiator grille. It gets a clean front bumper which features thin square-shaped LED DRLs and ‘RENAULT’ in bold lettering.
    The bonnet air intake is neatly hidden with a charging hatch on the company’s logo on the front nose. The small impression of the French flag on its rearview mirrors shows its nationalistic pride.
    Renault 5 Prototype Electric Car
    At rear, the LED taillights feature aero flaps with an illuminated reflector strip running around the roof lining to the A-pillars which seem to pay tribute to Renault 5 models of the 1980s. Side profile’s centre of attraction are the large alloy wheels wrapped in Continental tyres.
    Overall, the concept’s design looks very clean and simple yet feels a modernised version of the original R5 with references such as boxy wheel arches, flat sides and a tilted C-pillar. There is also a nod to the original ‘5’ with impressions on its wheels, rear logo and side grid.
    Renault 5 Prototype Electric Car
    Other Details
    Details are very sparse at the moment with the automaker yet to reveal its expected specifications or even its interior images. All we know is that it will be based on a modular EV architecture that has been developed by Renault and its alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi. Dubbed as CMF-EV, this platform will underpin most small and medium-sized cars from the alliance brands, for instance, the upcoming Nissan Ariya crossover.
    While no definite timeline has been set for its production to commence, new Renault 5 Concept could replace the highly successful Zoe EV as the brand’s compact electric hatchback. The carmaker has also announced that its performance range of cars which will carry the nametag of Alpine, will be an all-electric range of cars and the 5 Prototype could very well be part of this lineup. More

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    MG To Launch New Electric Car Under Rs 20 L – Working On Battery Tech For 500 kms Range

    MG Marvel at Delhi Auto Expo. Image for reference.
    MG Motor is currently chalking out plans to develop a battery assembly facility in India

    With growing advancement in electric vehicle (EV) technology in India, automobile manufacturers are racing towards development of cost-effective and economical electric mobility. At this point in time, such options are very limited in the Indian market, especially in the passenger vehicle segment.
    With Nexon EV being the most economical of the limited options, it has unsurprisingly led the sales volume chart in EV segment. However, manufacturers are looking to build more affordable models in the coming future with improved accessibility. Recently, MG Motor has revealed their plans to introduce an EV that would cost less than Rs 20 lakh.
    This development has been confirmed by Rajeev Chaba, President and Managing Director, MG Motor India, in an interaction with Economic Times. He further informed that this new electric car will be coming out sometime next year and the company has started working on building a battery assembly facility in the country which could bring down the cost of batteries.
    New Battery Assembly Facility in India
    Currently, details of this facility are being worked on which will provide batteries for the upcoming EV. As per an initial estimate, it will require an investment of around Rs 4,000 crore. This new facility will also help MG develop a much improved battery technology that can deliver a single-charge range of around 500 km.
    Existing MG ZS Electric
    This new technology is expected to feature in production-spec electric cars in 18 months. Furthermore, it has been reported that this technology is currently being evaluated under various climate conditions and terrains.
    As per directives and guidelines set by the government of India, electric mobility seems to be future of the automotive industry in the country. This fact was acknowledged by Chaba during the interaction.
    This development comes at a time when Tesla Inc. has just announced its entry in India with its headquarter set up in Bangalore. As per reports, the Karnataka Government has allotted few acres of land to the American company in Tumkur, on the outskirts of Bengaluru to set up a R&D facility.
    New MG Electric Car
    MG Motor currently has only one electric car offering in the form of ZS EV which registered sales for 1,142 units in 2020. This accounts for 25 percent of total electric vehicles sold in India last year. The company intends to double this volume to around 2,500 units in 2021. Chaba further added that MG has received over 200 bookings for the electric crossover in December 2020. ZS EV is locally assembled in India with components brought in as CKD units.
    ZS EV is powered by a 44.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack paired to an electric motor which produces an output of 143 PS and 353 Nm of peak torque. It offers a claimed range of 340 km at a single charge. Its current prices start at Rs. 20.88 lakh for the base trim and go up to Rs. 23.58 lakh for the fully loaded trim (both prices are ex-showroom).
    It is not clear what this new sub Rs 20 lakh car from MG will be. It could be a new variant of the ZS electric itself, which is already on sale in India. With advanced battery tech, higher localization it is quite possible MG manages to increase the range of their ZS EV, and at the same time reduce its cost.
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    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.
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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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.
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    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