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For SAIC’s goodness: MG launches HS plug-in hybrid SUV

Filed by Jack Yan/March 3, 2021/3.29




MG Motor has announced the plug-in hybrid version of the HS for the Australian and New Zealand markets, in a live-streamed launch on March 2.
   The HS plug-in hybrid is the second electrified MG on sale in the region, after the all-electric ZS crossover, the price leader in the segment. The HS range effectively succeeded the GS, which sold in limited numbers in New Zealand. The platform, perhaps predictably, features MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension at the rear.
   Giles Belcher, sales director for MG Motor Australia and New Zealand, hosted the event from Sydney, joined by CEO for the region Peter Ciao. David Hearty, the project general manager for the HS for Australia and New Zealand, and Danny Lenartic, general manager for EVs for Australia and New Zealand, also took the podium to introduce the new vehicle.
   Ciao said that he could not copy the European approach and import it to Australasia, with the different population densities, tastes and needs.
   ‘With the PHEV, we knew 90 per cent of the time we are just driving in the city. The electric vehicle engine is perfect for this. You can enjoy perfect driving and performance and low running costs. Then, when you want to explore and venture in this beautiful country, the petrol engine provides an additional range so you never have to worry about a charge station. It really is the best of both worlds,’ he said.
   He stressed that the aim of MG was to provide the best value for its customers, including making electrified vehicles mainstream.
   Hearty said the HS would be the flagship crossover for the range in the region, which probably means that large Roewe models would not don MG badges in this part of the world.
   Showing confidence and how far MG has come since it returned to the New Zealand market with the 6, the HS plug-in hybrid retails in New Zealand for NZ$52,990 (plus on-road costs), in a single Essence AWD trim, backed by an eight-year, 160,000 km battery warranty, and a five-year unlimited-kilometre vehicle warranty.
   The HS plug-in hybrid is particularly well equipped in this market, with a panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, a 12·3-inch digital instrument display complemented by a 10·1-inch HD centre touchscreen, and heated and electrically adjustable leather seats. The MG Pilot driver safety system is standard.
   Externally, the HS has 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, and daytime running lights. The hero colour, called Clipper Blue, is exclusive to the PHEV.
   Claimed range for just the 16·6 kWh lithium-ion electric motor is 52 km (WLTP combined cycle), and an EV-only mode is available. Top speed is 190 km/h, and 100 km/h is reached in 6·9 s. Total output is 284 PS (209 kW) with peak torque at 480 Nm, with fuel consumption at 1·7 ℓ/100 km (combined cycle)—a whopping 166 mpg (Imperial)—and carbon dioxide emissions of just 39 g/km. The powertrain means that emissions are reduced from 50 to 70 per cent.
   The estimated 7·2 kW charging time is five hours.
   Parent company SAIC was formally pronounced ‘sake’ by the company officials, rather than referred to by its initials.
   As with Chinese convention, the electrified models were referred to at the press conference as ‘new energy vehicles’.
   Lenartic says SAIC is ‘focusing on accelerating innovative development … areas of electrification, intelligent connectivity, software-defined motoring, knowledge sharing, and continued globalization of its brands.’
   Lenartic says it sold 320,000 new-energy vehicles globally in 2020, a year-on-year increase of 73·4 per cent, the second-fastest growth rate in the world. Twenty-five thousand of those were exported to Europe.
   He also pointed out that SAIC had its own battery production, part of its own supply chain.
   Lenartic refused to say whether plug-in hybrid versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Mitsubishi Outlander were in MG’s sights, saying that was something the market would decide.
   ‘This is only the beginning of the electric dream,’ said Lenartic. ‘Certainly it’s a sign of bigger things to come.’
   The cars arrive in Australian dealerships in March and in New Zealand dealerships in April.—Jack Yan, Publisher









 


Jaguar turns continuation efforts to its 1953 Le Mans-winning C-type

Filed by Lucire staff/January 28, 2021/11.49




‘Continuation’ editions are a great money-spinner for car companies with a history: offer a classic based on the original plans, and wait for the well heeled collectors to snap them up. Aston Martin has done it with both the DB4 GT and the James Bond Goldfinger DB5, and Jaguar with the E-type Lightweight.
   Now it’s the turn of the C-type, with eight planned, each to be hand-built. Unlike replicas, these fetch a higher price because of their provenance, being built by the company itself. Jaguar claims the C-types are ‘fully authentic’, with the cars to come from Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry.
   The cars will be equipped to the 1953 Le Mans winner specifications, with disc brakes, and the 3·4-litre inline six with triple Weber carburettors. The cars will not be road-legal, but can be used in historic racing and on the track.
   Jaguar used a period C-type for the basis of its new manufacturing data, and, of course, it had exclusive access to the original engineering drawings and records created by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, competitions’ manager Lofty England, and engineers William Heynes, Bob Knight and Norman Dewis.
   Customers can specify their continuation C-types virtually, too, with an online configurator. These can be shared with the hashtag #70yearsofCtype, with Jaguar planning to feature them on its social media.



Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Top: Jaguar’s works C-type racing team before the start of the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours, including Stirling Moss with no. 17. Moss would finish second overall, with Peter Walker. The no. 18 Jaguar C-type of Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton wins the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours.

 


Twenty years of Lucire’s Car to Be Seen in

Filed by Jack Yan/December 14, 2020/3.07


Honda E: already inducted into the Red Dot Design Museum.

The Honda E has been named Lucire’s Car to Be Seen in for 2020, the award joining a bunch of others from dedicated motoring and motoring media organizations around the world.
   For some reason I thought the second-generation Toyota Prius was once named a Car to Be Seen in by us in 2004, but I suspect that was the fault of memory: we covered the Prius in print, but it never got the accolade. The reason it stuck in my mind was that in 2004 it made an impression, even if used second-gen Priuses are now associated with Übers and an anti-car image by certain petrolheads.
   That impression was the sight of certain Hollywood types wanting to be seen as green, showing up to awards in Priuses rather than stretched limos, a practice that quickly ceased after they hopped on to the next fad. It wasn’t, for want of a better term, sustainable—at least not for their image. And more’s the pity, because the stretched limousine remains an exercise in irrelevance, in our opinion.
   The award is entirely subjective and even the criteria have changed from time to time; but with only a few exceptions we’ve attempted to choose a vehicle that represents the style of the time. We also ask: does the Lucire reader look good in it? Does it say something positive about the driver?
   As a result, some cars were named to the list before they were lapped up by a load of buyers—or footballers. One year it was put to an editors’ vote.
   This year, the 20th, it’s a pleasure to welcome the first Japanese car to the list, by a company we’ve long admired for its chutzpah. Founder Soichiro Honda knew he wanted to make cars, so to get there he started with bicycle motors and lawnmowers and worked his way up. The sky’s the limit, literally, as Honda now has a corporate jet business, too.
   The Honda E is not the first EV on the list: that honour goes to the Tesla Roadster, back when Martin Eberhard was running the business in a spirit of transparency and optimism. A futuristic plug-in diesel hybrid limited to 200 units, the Volkswagen XL1, went on the list in 2014. The BMW i8 was the Car to Be Seen in for 2016, and the Jaguar I-Pace in 2018.
   Our full list up to December 2019, which was published on our NewTumbl, appears below, with the new entry added. We will probably cease updating our NewTumbl presence, which took over from our Tumblr account, preferring to consolidate our content on our own domains. Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram continue for the time being—and that’s a discussion for another day.—Jack Yan, Publisher

2001 Audi A4 Avant
2002 Audi A4 Cabriolet
2003 Peugeot 307 CC
2004 Aston Martin DB9
2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK
2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
2007 Tesla Roadster
2008 Fiat 500
2009 Alfa Romeo MiTo
2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Klasse Coupé
2011 Audi A7 Sportback
2012 Range Rover Evoque
2013 Jaguar F-type
2014 Volkswagen XL1
2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
2016 BMW i8
2017 Range Rover Velar
2018 Jaguar I-Pace
2019 Alpine A110
2020 Honda E

 


Automobili Pininfarina completes first high-speed tests for Battista electric hypercar at Nardò

Filed by Lucire staff/December 2, 2020/0.29


Mahindra & Mahindra, presently looking to offload loss-making Ssangyong, has much more glamorous cars in its sights, as the Pininfarina Battista electric hypercar nears production.
   The new car, testing at the Nardò track, aims to be the most powerful Italian sports’ car ever produced—quite a claim in a country where Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini were founded—with a 120 kWh battery powering four electric motors, one at each wheel, for a total of 1,900 PS and torque of 2,300 Nm. Range is expected to be 500 km.
   A fully developed prototype has completed its first high-speed test programme at Nardò under chief product and engineering officer Paolo Dellacha and test driver and vehicle dynamics’ engineer Georgios Syropoulos. This car has a complete luxury interior, and wears a disguise over its carbonfibre shell.
   The tests, on public roads and private facilities, will fine-tune and homologate the Battista.
   Syropoulos completed tests including sprints on the circular banking at Nardò’s 12·6 km ring and laps on the 6·2 km handling track.
   Dellacha said, ‘This test is an exciting moment for our clients and the team at Automobili Pininfarina as we complete another phase In the development of the most powerful Italian sports car ever made. We have undertaken extensive development using advanced simulation technology, and we can now fine-tune the calibration of Battista’s bespoke chassis and pioneering four-motor torque vectoring system on road and track.’
   Syropoulos added, ‘The phenomenal performance potential of the Battista is clear. Our clients will never have experienced acceleration like this before, yet giving them the opportunity to tailor their experience using a range of drive modes means this hypercar offers much more than just speed thrills. With a zero-emissions range of 500 km and sophisticated all-wheel-drive technology, every drive in Battista will be a pleasure.’
   The Battista features Brembo CCMR carbon–ceramic brakes, four-motor torque vectoring, an ultra-stiff carbonfibre monocoque, seamless global roaming, and over-the-air updates. Top speed will be in excess of 350 km/h with an expected 0–100 km/h time of under 2 s, faster than a current Formula 1 racing car. Automobili Pininfarina expects it will reach 300 km/h in less than 12 s. The company has also partnered with Chargepoint, giving customers complimentary charging with the firm.
   Mahindra & Mahindra licensed the Pininfarina brand name from the famed styling house, Pininfarina SpA, which will retain an ‘influential’ role over design and production. The Battista is named after Pininfarina’s founder, Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina.
   Dellacha is a veteran of Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, while Syropoulos has focused on EVs at Lotus, Tesla and Faraday Future.
   Production at Cambiano, Italy is expected to be fewer than 150, with first deliveries in 2021.

 


Two ends of the spectrum: Citroën’s facelifted C3; GMSV releases Chevrolet Silverado in RHD

Filed by Jack Yan/November 11, 2020/11.41


Two motoring releases are taking place in New Zealand this week: the first was the facelifted Citroën C3, a B-segment car that we really rate. The C3, which was first released in 2016, gets a slightly more aggressive nose, tying it in with larger models in the Citroën range. We suspect it’ll drive largely the same, which means light steering, easy manœuvrability, and reasonably good visibility (especially given today’s trend of silo-like cabins). We enjoyed the 1·2-litre triple, which the C3 retains in petrol guise here. However, Citroën tells us that there are new Advanced Comfort seats with lumbar support padding and driver’s arm reset, and more safety gear.
   It’s a sensible car in uncertain times, especially with petrol continuing to hover around the NZ$2 per litre mark—for our US readers I recently converted it to over US$5 a gallon. Lucire had the pre-facelift C3 around Auckland not too long ago and it especially made sense in urban areas. Will it do well? That’s the catch: it should, but you have to wonder about buyers as yet another crossover, with all the fuel it will consume over a comparably sized car, leaves a dealer’s forecourt.
   I must be missing something as I don’t think five bucks a gallon is cheap, unlike those who have made the Ford Ranger the nation’s top selling vehicle. Or those who have made the Toyota Hilux our number two.
   In such an environment—and I used that noun intentionally—maybe GM Special Vehicles’ Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will make perfect sense to Kiwi buyers who believe trucks are the in thing, and size is king. If everyone else is finding petrol cheap, then who am I to argue?
   The biggest pick-up truck to be sold in the country, by what’s left of General Motors down here, will be just the ticket for those who like the sound of a 6·2-litre V8 hauling around 5,000 lb (2,268 kg). Sure, I know some of you will need the 4·5-tonne towing capacity, but I’m betting more will be swayed by all the chrome and a cabin that boasts the best-in-class front head- and legroom. GMSV points out there are 31 inches of displays: digital dash, infotainment, and head-up.
   A plus for Kiwis is the fact the Silverado is here with right-hand drive, converted in Australia by Walkinshaw Automotive Group.
   What’s the bet that a lot of these Silverados are going to be sparkling clean, barely going near a payload?
   We admit we enjoyed the Holden Trailblazer when it was on test with us, for being an honest workhorse, and maybe the Silverado falls into that category. Holden’s top model last year was the Colorado, the country’s sixth best seller, in a country where pick-ups are the second-biggest segment (after 4×4 mid-sized SUVs).
   However, it’s hard not to be a little cynical in the wake of GM’s withdrawal from our market despite having the most competitive range in years—only to tell us that they pin their future on a truck more than twice the weight of the C3. Maybe the Ranger posers will have something to aspire to, no matter how often this magazine leans toward sustainability. Find your dealer at www.gmspecialtyvehicles.com.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


Pininfarina at 90: creating the future with connectivity, data and AI

Filed by Lucire staff/May 15, 2020/11.54

No doubt many of us have been forced into virtual environments with COVID-19, for those lucky enough to have benefited from the technological innovations of the last several decades. And companies like Pininfarina, the design house that has penned some of history’s greatest Ferrari cars, as well as more humble fare from mass-market manufacturers, recognize that the future isn’t just about the hand-crafted work that the company’s founders once knew, but about user experiences.
   As it celebrates its 90th anniversary, the Torino-based firm is offering automotive customers everything from concept and design to user experience through its responsive, multi-sensorial, on-board-experience demonstrator, AutonoMIA.
   Pininfarina envisages that AutonoMIA will help it explore how new technologies—AI, 5G, displays, haptics, sensors, natural interfaces, and, in the future, augmented reality, holographic displays and autonomous driving—can ‘re-enchant’ the driving experience.
   It has collaborated with ART of Umbria, which created the infotainment platform for AutonoMIA, along with the hardware and middleware. The application layer was designed with Siili Auto, a leading Finnish automotive software developer. ARAS supplied the seats and padded parts. The company will build on AutonoMIA with its partner WayRay with its holographic head-up display technology and new applications for autonomous driving, urban mobility and infotainment.
   ‘AutonoMIA shows how Pininfarina may combine experience design with creative technology, reinventing the on-board experience at a time when digitalization, connectivity, data and artificial intelligence are substantially redefining mobility. With its experience-design team and Partners, Pininfarina today helps its customers through mobility experiences which are getting more and more digital,’ said Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Pininfarina.

 


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