Hopium is a French car brand you probably never heard of. In fact, before October 2019, it never existed and was established in that month by Olivier Lombard, the youngest winner in the 24 hours of Le Mans (LMP2 class). Hopium is the brand of Hydrogen Motive Company which will make high-end hydrogen-fuelled vehicles (FCEVs).

Now 31 years old, Lombard starts off with 7 years of personal experience with such vehicles and has assembled a team of experts as well as business partners to develop the car of the future. While the transport sector alone is responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change, Hopium is positioning itself as a player in the fight against climate change.

2023 Hopium Macxhina FCEV

2023 Hopium Machina FCEV

Prototype developed in record time
The development work began in October 2020 and by June 2021, the first prototype was produced in record time. It has been known as Alpha 0 and is used to certify the reliability of the fuel cell system. After the design and architecture phases, followed by the implementation of the various components within the vehicle, the prototype went through lab and track tests. It has already reached a maximum speed of 200 km/h, the performance level which is promised for the Machina, as the production model is to be known.

Over the past 12 months, the next phase following the rolling prototype has been underway and has led to the completion of the Machina concept car which gives a preview of the design features. Conceived by automotive designer Felix Godard (previously at Porsche, Tesla and Lucid) has a sleek aerodynamic form with an imposing grille in the ascending fuselage to optimize fuel cell cooling.

2023 Hopium Machina FCEV

Inspired by water
The lighting signature is distinctive and also serves as the emblem of Hopium. The lines replicate the stratification of hydrogen and the movement of waves on the surface of water. In fact, much of the design has been inspired by water, which is a harmless by-product of the reaction in the fuel cell to generate electricity.

2023 Hopium Machina FCEV

2023 Hopium Machina FCEV

The platform has the fuel cell system installed up front, generating electricity that is stored in battery packs that are optimised in size and efficiency. The hydrogen storage tanks can contain over 6 kgs of the gas which will take only 3 minutes to fill with high-pressure pumps. The performance targets for the Machina are 500 ps, 230 km/h and 1,000 kms of range.

Future of the Human/Machine relationship
Godard and his designers imagine the future of the Human/Machine relationship inside the Machina. Facing the front occupants is a pillar-to-pillar display with a ‘digital landscape’ of information. It can transform into a full or minimized layout as desired, in a wave-like motion. The haptic console offers a new sensory connection with the interface.

2023 Hopium Macxhina FCEV

2023 Hopium Macxhina FCEV

2023 Hopium Macxhina FCEV

At the back, passengers can enjoy the comfort of a spacious interior with a view of the sky. All the materials used for the interior are of the highest quality, and made to last a long time. The materials will be sourced in Europe to reduce their environmental impact.

Orders for the first 1,000 units of the Machina have been accepted over the past year  but the company has not revealed how many there are. It will make its world premiere at the 2022 Paris Motor Show this October.

2023 Hopium Machina FCEV

UKM team completes development of two hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)

Nissan Motor and Nissan Motorsports & Customizing Co. (NMC) have entered Nissan Z Racing Concept cars in the second round of ENEOS Super Taikyu Series 2022 –  the NAPAC Fuji SUPER TEC 24 Hour Race. The event is held at the Fuji Speedway this weekend and the two cars will have the numbers ‘230’ and ‘244’.

The aim of running the two cars is to explore possible competition in various motorsports categories. Car 230, entered by the NISMO team, is equipped with a carbon-neutral-fuel (CNF) compatible engine, while Car 244, entered by the Max Racing team, is powered by a powerful petrol engine.

The two cars have been developed with the knowledge gained over many years of Super GT and customer racing car involvement. By entering the tough 24-hour endurance race, Nissan hopes to accumulate valuable data that can only be obtained through racing. This particularly applies to the CNF-compatible engine that can be applied to future development.

Nissan aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout its product life cycle by fiscal year 2050 and is therefore also enhancing its efforts in motorsports. For instance, the carmaker is the only Japanese manufacturer that participates in the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for single-seater cars.

“In our pursuit of innovation, we have always challenged the limits of what is possible, but we have never compromised on what excites our fans. Whether it is the excitement mixed with the roar of the engines or silent speed, our ambition is to empower our customers to enjoy their experience without compromise,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer. “The participation of the Nissan Z Racing Concept cars in this demanding race will bring many valuable learnings to develop competitive engines compatible with carbon-neutral fuel.”

“The tougher the race, the more we learn. We expect to acquire ample data and know-how for future vehicle development and, at the same time, we aim to show fans the unique driving performance of the all-new Z that we hope will exceed their expectations,” added Takao Katagiri, Head of Nissan’s Motorsports Business Unit Office and President of NMC.

Nissan Z Safety Car
Besides the two concept racing cars, Nissan Motor and NMC have also provided new Nissan Z for use as a safety car in the Super GT race series. The car has been presented to the organisers, the GT Association, Inc., and the sportscar will make its debut in the third round of the 2022 season at the Suzuka Circuit.

Nissan Z Safety Car

Nissan Z Safety Car

Nissan Z Safety Car

Among the duties of the Safety Car will be pre-race inspection of the tracks for obstacles and leading competition cars when race accidents occur.

Unveiled in August 2021, the all-new Z generation has been enthusiastically received by new and old fans alike. By competing in this season’s Super GT with the Nissan Z GT500, Nissan and NMC aim to broaden the Z’s fan base and increase the exposure of the Super GT series.

For more information on Nissan products and services in Malaysia, visit www.nissan.com.my.

All-new 7th generation Nissan Z revealed! (w/VIDEO)

One of two ultra-rare original 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Collection has been auctioned for 135 million euros – that’s equivalent to RM626,822,715 at today’s exchange rate – to a private collector. It’s the highest price ever paid for any car and the money will be used to establish a ‘Mercedes-Benz Fund’.

One of only two units
Only two units of the prototype sportscar were built and named after the chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Apart from its rarity, the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe is considered to be one of the finest examples of automotive engineering and design by automotive experts and enthusiasts worldwide.

1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

The auction was held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum and managed by renowned auctioneer RM Sotheby’s. The sportscar auctioned was part of the non-public vehicle collection belonging to Mercedes-Benz Classic, which has more than 1,100 automobiles ranging from the invention of the automobile in 1886 until today.

“The private buyer has agreed that the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe will remain accessible for public display on special occasions, while the second original 300 SLR Coupe remains in company ownership and will continue to be displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart,“ said Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes Benz Heritage.

1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

Global scholarship programme
“The 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupes are milestones in sportscar development and key historical elements that have shaped our brand. The decision to sell one of these two unique sportscars was taken with very sound reasoning – to benefit a good cause. The proceeds from the auction will fund a global scholarship programme. With the ‘Mercedes-Benz Fund’, we would like to encourage a new generation to follow in Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s innovative footsteps and develop amazing new technologies, particularly those that support the critical goal of decarbonisation and resource preservation,” said Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

“At the same time, achieving the highest price ever paid for a vehicle is extraordinary and humbling: A Mercedes-Benz is by far the most valuable car in the world,” he added.

1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

The proceeds from the auction will serve as seed capital for the global initiative, and Mercedes-Benz is committed to investing additional resources in the coming years. The Mercedes Benz Fund will be divided into two sub-categories: University Scholarships in order to connect, educate and encourage students to realize/conduct research on environmental science projects, and School Scholarships focussing on pupils to realize local environmental projects in their communities.

The programme funds will be directed to individuals who otherwise do not have the financial means for their projects and career paths. The programme will go beyond financially supporting the young people and include extracurricular elements like Mercedes-Benz mentorships opening up new career prospects.

Rudolf Uhlenhaut and his Coupe
The special circumstances behind its creation, its unique design and its innovative technology have endowed the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe with a remarkable level of mystique that endures to this day. The design set benchmarks that put it among the world’s most significant automotive icons – not least on account of its distinctive gullwing doors. Added to this is the outstanding performance delivered by its thoroughbred racing technology.

Serving as the head of passenger car development at Mercedes-Benz which included the racing division, Uhlenhaut was also the father of the 300 SL and the W 196 R “Silver Arrows”. The Coupe exceeded the technical possibilities of its time and became the pinnacle in the life’s work of the genius engineer who persistently strove for the maximum.

1955 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

Mercedes-Benz Museum offers a new perspective with indoor drone tour (w/VIDEO)

In 1991, Renault displayed a concept car that was the forerunner of compact MPVs with its novel management of the interior layout to comfortably accommodate a whole family. The model was called the Scenic concept, and its format would be used in a new generation of models that also used the same name.

31 years later, the French carmaker is again using the name and as before, the new model starts a new chapter in its history. Known as the Scenic Vision, the new concept car embodies the brand’s sustainable development commitments and encapsulates them in a single vehicle. Its intelligent design and manufacture incorporate methods that the Renault Group and its brands will use to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and worldwide by 2050.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

Previous Scenic concept introduced the compact MPV format to the world in 1991.

With the Scenic Vision, Renault is proposing ‘a car for life and for living’, with a new vision for the family car. Its exterior design, measuring 4.49 metres in length, provides a preview of an all-electric model in the C-segment that will be unveiled in 2024.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

The unique design is enhanced by the choice of colours, where black and white create a singular graphic universe. Shades of black on the outside, and white on the inside, offer a contrast of light and dark that reflects the design team’s wish for this concept car to be a work of art where artistic expression takes to the fore.

Fuel cell powertrain
The Scenic Vision is proposed with a fuel cell that generates electricity for a new-generation motor. The 160 kW motor derives directly from the latest Megane E-Tech Electric’s motor and uses no rare-earth elements. This helps to reduce its carbon footprint and create a responsible and sustainable ecosystem.

The 40 kWh battery pack is recyclable and will be made in France by 2024 at the Renault ElectriCity Gigafactory. It is lighter, smaller and costs less than a battery pack for a similar electric vehicle. The 15 kW fuel cell will recharge it during long drives and thus extend its range. In 2030 and beyond, once the network of hydrogen stations is large enough, it will be possible to drive up to 800 kms, with the hydrogen tank able to be refilled in 5 minutes or less.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

The all-new platform used by the Scenic Vision is currently in the prototyping phase. It is purpose-designed to fit all the components –  electric motor, hydrogen engine, battery, fuel cell and hydrogen tank. The engine is at the rear, so there is enough space for the 2.5-kg hydrogen tank at the front; the fuel cell is under the floor, at the back of the platform, behind the battery.

Optimal travel times
This propulsion system’s operation is simple and efficient. The car can be driven as a conventional electric vehicle, without using the fuel cell, on daily trips. When there is a requirement to travel longer distances, a route planner calculates the power the fuel cell needs to supply to keep the battery charged for longer, so that there is no need to charge it on the way.

The point of using the fuel cell on long journeys is that it’s quicker to top up the hydrogen tank than to charge the battery. This way, there is no need to charge the battery until the car reaches its destination. When the weather is cold, the hydrogen range-extender also keeps the battery at the right temperate for optimal operation and extra range.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

95% recyclable
A full 95% of this concept car’s materials – including the battery – are recyclable. This new approach to design looks beyond the vehicle and includes previously unexplored ventures and technologies. The exterior materials (steel, aluminium, carbonfibre and plastics) can all be recycled at the end of their life.

Everything inside is also designed responsibly. For example, the foams, fabrics and stitching on the light beige seats are made of the same material, produced from fully recycled and recyclable plastic.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

Estimates suggest that the number of electric vehicles on Europe’s roads will increase tenfold between now and 2030, from 10 million to 100 million. The Renault Group is the first carmaker to work on the full battery lifecycle, and has developed solid expertise in increasing their durability and using them for a wider variety of purposes. Once a battery is no longer fit to power a vehicle, its energy can be reused in stationary storage solutions in homes or offices, or elsewhere (in boats, refrigeration systems, machinery or airport logistics, etc).

The steel in the vehicle’s structure is made from 95% recycled steel, while all the aluminium parts in the structure (housings, battery casing, seats) and trims (console, cockpit) are made from 100% recycled aluminium. All the carbonfibre is recycled from aviation industry scrap via a partnership with Airbus, and the hydrogen tank is made with carbonfibre produced from paper-industry waste.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

Elsewhere, 70% of the interior and exterior plastics are recycled, with 100% of the textile fabrics made of recycled materials. It is also entirely leather-free, while the floor is made of 100% recycled plastics from food and industrial waste

Help for safer motoring
The Scenic Vision previews technology and systems which will provide assistance to drivers, enabling them to better avoid risky situations, and reduce stress behind the wheel. The multiple ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) and 3 on-board systems  – Safety Score, Safety Coach, and Safe Guardian, are designed to provide extra safety for all, as well as a unique level of both physical and psychological comfort.

New Renault models will soon come with a ‘Safety Score’. Using data collected by sensors mounted on the vehicle, it analyses the driver’s driving style – acceleration, smoothness, inattention, speed management, and driver distractibility. It then gives personalised driving tips to each driver based on a safety score calculated at the end of each trip.

To further aid drivers, the vehicle comes fitted with an array of health monitoring systems. A heart rate sensor placed in the steering wheel and a camera serve to detect signs of driver fatigue or inattentiveness. Should a problem arise, warning signals are sent to the driver and passengers, and emergency services are alerted automatically.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

The Scenic Vision has been designed with a new architecture that features an extra-large screen located where the dashboard meets the windscreen. It displays the car’s immediate environment, thanks to an array of on-board cameras located at the front of the vehicle. The system increases the driver’s field of view by 24% due to a visual widening of the windscreen and a front bonnet that ‘disappears’.

New technological solutions help rescue services at the scene of an incident. The Fireman Access and Rescue Code are two such systems already featured on production vehicles, with the former featuring a specialised access hatch to the core of the battery that means it now only takes a few minutes to extinguish a battery fire instead of up to 2 hours.

2022 Renault Scenic Vision concept EV

Renault OpenR puts a huge smartphone in the car

At the 2021 IAA Mobility event in Germany last year, Porsche displayed a conceptual study that was the vision of a fully-electric GT racing car. Called the Mission R, it was intended to show a possible model for customer motorsport in the future.

The sportscar maker has now begun testing the technology components of the Mission R with the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance as a test vehicle. Like the Mission R, the all-wheel drive racer uses the chassis of the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport with the entire electric motor and battery technology from the IAA conceptual study.

2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance

Mission R

The powertrain has a maximum output of 735 kW (1,000 ps) and can generate still more. In simulated racing, a steady 450 kW (612 ps) is available for 30 minutes – equivalent to the duration of a Carrera Cup race. In terms of lap times and top speed, the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance is on par with the performance of the current 992-generation 911 GT3 Cup.

“With the Mission R, we’ve shown how Porsche envisages sustainable customer motor racing in the future. The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance now demonstrates that this vision works impressively on the racetrack,” revealed Matthias Scholz, GT racing vehicle project manager. “We’re very excited about the response because a one-make cup with electric racing cars would be an important addition to our existing customer racing programme.”

2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance

By 2030, Porsche aims to be CO2 neutral across the entire value chain and lifecycle of its new cars sold. By then, the proportion of all new vehicles featuring all-electric drive should be more than 80%. This development is there important in the light of moving towards greater electrification.

The fully-electric drivetrain has electric motors on front and rear axles for all-wheel drive. The direct oil cooling of the e-motors and battery pack developed by Porsche counteracts thermally induced derating.

“The integration of oil cooling has significantly impacted the vehicle concept,” explained Bjorn Forster, GT4 ePerformance project manager. “With experts in the fields of aerodynamics and thermodynamics as well as high-voltage and bodywork specialists, the development team created an architecture to tap the full potential of the battery cells for the first time, since there is no thermal derating. In this way, the power output in racing mode remains constant for half an hour.”

Mission R drivetrain has e-motors on front and rear axles for all-wheel drive.

Thanks to 900-volt technology, the state of charge of the battery at full charging capacity jumps from 5% to 80% in about 15 minutes. This is important in future races which may have long durations.

Under the direction of designer Grant Larson, a team from Porsche Style came up with the shape of the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance. The racing car is 14 cm wider than a 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. About 6,000 parts were designed from scratch and the body is made of natural fibre composite materials. The production is intended to generate fewer emissions than the production of comparable synthetic materials. Recycled carbonfibres are also used for testing purposes.

Compared to the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the flared fenders allow more room for the wider 18-inch racing tyres from Michelin. Renewable materials make up a particularly high proportion of the tyres.

2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance

The GT4 ePerformance Tour
The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance will make a dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next month. At the famous motorsport festival in southern England, the concept racing car will take part in the traditional 1.9-km hillclimb event.

Its second outing will be in August at the Porsche factory in Leipzig on the occasion of the factory’s 20th anniversary. The facility boasts a 3.7-km circuit with sections reproducing world-famous racetracks.

2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance

The two 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance demo vehicles will travel through various European countries before heading to North America in early 2023. The world tour concludes in the Asia-Pacific region where it will tour until mid-2024. It’s almost a certainty we will see it at the Sepang International Circuit which is frequently used by Porsche for events.

“The 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance blazes a trail to Porsche customer racing with electrically-powered racing cars. As a first step, we will unveil this concept to our global partners,” says Oliver Schwab, Project Manager Sales of the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance. “With drivers, teams, organisers, authorities and other interested parties, we’re also gathering ideas for Porsche racing formats in the future.”

Porsche Mission R concept sportscar cockpit can also be a standalone simulator

Ever since the pneumatic tyre was invented by J.B. Dunlop in 1887 (although Robert Thomson had actually patented the concept in 1845), punctures leading to air leaking out have been the one thing that motorists have had to live with. While there are solid tyres as well, these are hard and uncomfortable and don’t grip well.

Thus the pneumatic tyre filled with air has been used for decades and various approaches have been taken to overcome the problem of punctures. Run-flat tyres are one of them, allowing the car to continue being driven for some distance instead of changing the wheel with the spare. In some cars, the spare tyre is not provided to save weight and space, and a repair kit is provided instead.

Researchers at tyre companies have also been working on ‘airless’ tyres – not solid tyres but having a radical new construction that can offer the comfort and grip of pneumatic tyres but has no air to leak when punctured. Over the past 15 years, a few tyremakers have been developing such tyres, with Michelin and Toyo Tires having reached a stage where commercialisation is possible very soon.

Toyo Tires has been working on airless tires since 2006 and in September 2017, the company was the first in the industry to present a non-pneumatic tyre that could be used on passenger cars and driven at high speeds. The tyre was known, quite appropriately, as ‘no air’.

Tyres for EVs and autonomous vehicles
Toyo Tires’ development of noair is to prepare for the coming era of electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous motoring. When EVs become widespread, many owners will not visit petrol stations as frequently as they do now to buy fuel. Therefore, the long practice of checking and inflating tyres correctly may no longer apply. Thus a tyre which does not need such checks would be useful.

Using proprietary technology, the noair tyre is said to have lower rolling resistance compared to conventional tyres. Adoption of tread rubber developed through Nano Balance Technology also promotes fuel efficiency while improving braking performance on wet roads.

X-shaped spoke configuration
In order to have a tyre that can support itself without air, Toyo Tires engineers developed an X-shaped spoke configuration. These spokes, made of a special resin, are alternately crossed over the width of the tyre from inside to the outside and vice-versa to create the X-shaped configuration. An additional benefit of this configuration is durability.

Additionally, the number of spokes has been increased to 100 pitches which reduces the load on each spoke and achieves a quieter ride. The external diameter resin ring is reinforced with carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) which serves to reduce the load imposed on the spokes.

Now in 6th generation of development
The noair tyre has now reached its sixth generation of development where the spokes are now 10 times more durable than at the beginning. Durability has also increased by 40% and Toyo Tires states that the performance is now as good as conventional tyres. However, like other new technologies, the cost to make a noair tyre is still high and the company is working on bringing this cost down.

Meanwhile Michelin says that it will be able to offer its airless tyre called UPTIS (for Unique Puncture-proof Tyre System) by 2024. It is likely that the first car to run on airless tyres will be GM, which the tyremaker is now running a real-world testing program with. The data collected by engineers during testing will enable them to perfect the prototype in preparation for its market launch.

Michelin’s UPTIS airless tyre undergoing tests.

Run-flat tyres – an example of technology transfer from motorsports

Before the age of mass-production, cars were largely hand-built with every process done by humans. This allowed customisation as each car could be put together differently. With mass production, commonality was the key element and initially, Henry Ford (who introduced mass production to the auto industry) even kept the body colour to a single one – black. Over time, customer demand saw more colours being offered, as well as some degree of choice in equipment and features.

The painting of cars today is largely done by robots which can provide a high-quality finish consistently. However, the drawback of robots is that customisation is very limited and for more personalised finishing, humans still have to do the painting. Naturally, there is extra cost to such a specialised job, hence it is usually only offered in the upper end of the market with expensive models.

ABB Robotics PixelPaint techology

However, ABB Robotics shows that robots can be used to paint complex designs on car bodies without human intervention. In a recent demonstration, the company’s IRB 500 robots were able to reproduce complex artworks on a car’s exterior in less than 30 minutes. The artworks were provided by two world-renowned artists, 8-year old Indian child prodigy Advait Kolarkar and Dubai-based digital design collective Illusorr.

The IRB 5500 paint robots, equipped with 1,000 nozzles in the printer head, were controlled with ABB’s PixelPaint technology which provides extreme precision and speed, capturing intricate, elaborate detail that would be impossible to achieve by hand. This allowed the perfect recreation of Advait’s swirling, monochromatic design as well as Illusorr’s tri-colour geometrical patterns.

ABB Robotics PixelPaint techology

“ABB’s PixelPaint technology is more than an evolution – it is a revolution. It’s a shining example of how robotic automation and our RobotStudio software can not only pave the way for more sustainable manufacturing but can also perfectly replicate delicate pieces of art that celebrate the originality and beauty of the human spirit. At a time when consumers want more customized products, PixelPaint is a game-changer and allows any design to be replicated in a manner that is both sustainable and affordable,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area.

ABB’s PixelPaint technology reimagines the paint application process and reflects the growing demand for sustainable personalization in the automotive industry, particularly in exterior paint. Multi-coloured car painting has traditionally been a laborious and costly process involving multiple stages of masking and unmasking but ABB’s technology allows for a detailed, colourful, and exact replication of any design.

ABB Robotics PixelPaint techology

PixelPaint technology also enhances manufacturing sustainability, removing the need for masking materials and extra ventilation, which lowers emissions while saving water and energy. Coordinated by the firm’s RobotStudio software, the paint head tracks very closely to the vehicle body to ensure 100% of the paint is applied to the car with no airborne misting. Different paint colours are applied quickly, with the product only running through the paint shop once. For car manufacturers, this can halve the production time and reduce costs by up to 60%.

Carefully controlled, the paint can be quickly applied in a single application. This breakthrough in the automation of the paint process opens the door to specialized and personalized designs to the automotive market. This would naturally be of great interest to carmakers that offer bespoke services.

ABB Robotics PixelPaint techology

Ian Callum, responsible for the design of the Aston Martin Vanquish and more recently the Jaguar I-Pace, is one of those in the industry who is impressed by the new technology. “There’s something very special about a car. People get emotionally attached to them and the importance of personalization is becoming stronger and stronger. In fact, I’m working with customers who actually want the whole car designed in a bespoke way. So this paint offering – with all sorts of new levels of individual design for a motorcar – is incredible,” the influential automotive designer said.

The BMW M1 Art Car presented in a new perspective 40 years later

Following the presentation of the CURVV concept early in April, Tata Motors recently unveiled a second concept car which will be the basis of a new battery-electric vehicle (BEV) that will enter the market in 2025. The new concept car is called the AVINYA, the name being derived from the Sanskrit language to stand for ‘Innovation’.

“While making the AVINYA Concept a reality, the central idea was to offer a mobility solution like no other – a state of the art software on wheels that is well designed, sustainable and reduces the planet’s carbon footprint,” said N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors. “Green Mobility is at the nucleus of Tata Passenger Electric Mobility (TPEM), and the AVINYA Concept is the perfect reflection of what the company stands for – a creation that will not only accelerate the adoption of EVs but also lead this movement.”

2022 Tata AVINYA Concept EV

Expanding on Mr. Chandrasekaran’s statement, Shailesh Chandra, Managing Director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Ltd., and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility Ltd., said: “It is indeed a matter of pride for us at TPEM to present the AVINYA Concept to the world, a vision pivotal in signalling a ‘New Paradigm’. Holding on to its values of Simplicity, Timelessness, Effortlessness and Grace, the AVINYA is not only a concept but is our new identity, an identity which is here to challenge the status quo. It gives me an intense sense of optimism to present a new typology of vehicles that will introduce the automobile industry to options beyond mobility – a tranquil space which will offer you a complete sensory experience while on the move.”

The AVINYA Concept is the first model built on the GEN 3 architecture developed for BEVs. This global platform offers high structural safety and has the next level of waterproofing and dust protection which may be a necessity in India and some other markets.

2022 Tata AVINYA Concept EV

This architecture is built with the use of next-gen lightweight materials, efficient electronic componentry and proprietary energy management strategies and algorithms for efficiency management.

With this architecture, Tata Motors plans to produce a range of globally competitive EVs. These will have new age technology, software and Artificial Intelligence working in the background. To help in widening adoption of BEVs, Tata Motors aims to make the model fairly accessible to a majority of customers of fast-growing, high-volume segments of today.

2022 Tata AVINYA Concept EV

The catamaran design served as inspiration for the AVINYA Concept, conceived as a premium hatchback with the versatility of an SUV and the roominess and functionality of an MPV. A significant highlight on the front and the rear of the vehicle is the new identity. Each side has ‘Butterfly’ doors, hinged at the front and at the rear. When both are open, a wide opening is available for entry and exit.

Such a concept is usually shown in concept cars but does not always continue in the production models. There are some models that do have it, like those from Rolls-Royce and as we have seen recently, the new Mazda MX-30.

The AVINYA Concept also has a skydome to further enhance the overall sense of space by letting in natural light from above. Sustainable materials are used, communicating the ethos of the product and as a finishing touch, there is an aroma diffuser.

2022 Tata AVINYA Concept EV

2022 Tata AVINYA Concept EV

Tata Motors’ designers have made an interesting departure from the trend of having more display screens (and larger ones too) around the cabin. They believe that less screen time is the way to go, and have minimised this aspect. This will eliminate distractions inside the car and create a stress-free environment for the mind and soul, they feel.

2022 Tata AVINYA Concept EV

Tata Motors does not say much about the powertrain but intends to provide a battery pack with ultra fast-charge capability that will give a 500-km range in under 30 minutes. Other subsidiaries in the Tata Group will develop the batteries and EV technologies, giving the company an advantage in what will become a competitive segment of the global auto market.

Tata CURVV concept SUV previews next-generation electric model from carmaker

Competition in the auto industry has existed from the time the second carmaker was established, and competing has been in not just business but also in the performance of the products. Carmakers have challenged each other on the streets and on racetracks, with supremacy putting a shine on their brand’s image.

3-company partnership
DEUS Automobiles, a new company born two years ago in Austria, is teaming up with Italdesign and Williams Advanced Engineering to make a statement of superiority in luxury electric hypercars. The partnership aims to design and create the most powerful electric hypercar in history with ground-breaking electrification technologies.

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

The Vayanne, as their hypercar is to be known, will go beyond today’s output levels and cross the 2,200 horsepower (1,640 kW) mark, generate over 2,000 Nm of torque, and be able to run beyond  400 km/h after passing 100 km/h in under 1.99 seconds.

Just how that amount of power will be produced and the nature of the powertrain is not explained at this time but will largely be the job of Williams Advanced Engineering. The British company and Italdesign are no strangers to collaboration; in April 2021, they announced a unique partnership for a high performance, flexible EV platform; EVX, supporting a long-term vision for EV architecture. This rolling chassis utilises Williams Advanced Engineering’s expertise in electrification, light-weighting, innovative chassis structures and vehicle and system integration.

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

Symmetry and geometric alignment
For now, DEUS is focussed on the design concept and a full-sized prototype is on display this week at the 2022 New York International Auto Show. To showcase the harmony of design, functionality and cutting-edge technology, the Vayanne is stylised around the idea of symmetry and geometric alignment of its lines and design features. In this regard, the shape of the front and rear grilles is made to represent the infinity loop.

The parametric grilles convey even more of a holistic approach through the meticulously aligned pattern that gradually increases in fade intensity. The pattern of the parametric grilles is represented by hexagonal shapes that continuously flow into each other to create the desired effect of angel wings being enclosed by the uninterrupted taillight strip in the rear and to further increase the premium feeling of the car’s stance in the front.

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

For every air duct, there is another matching vent to keep the styling in line with the symmetry while ensuring the angles of those ducts are geometrically aligned. This is the result of DEUS and Italdesign styling and engineering departments working hand-in-hand to make no compromises between design and feasibility and to achieve maximum performance.

Sustainable production process
The interior, themed in a green colour, of the Vayanne has smooth yet dominant curves combined with refined geometry. The natural leather selected for the upholstery was treated and produced combining sustainable, technologically advanced solutions throughout the production process, with strong commitment to zero waste for a circular economy model.

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

DEUS is the first in the automotive industry to implement the Halo Infinity mirror throughout a vehicle’s interior. This innovative design feature as applied in the Vayanne is vital to carrying over the infinity theme from the hypercar concept’s exterior to its interior. It embraces the whole interior from the doors throughout the dashboard. The effect changes in regard to the viewing angle, a trait incorporated to suggest that everyone’s view is unique.

99 units to be built
Following its debut in New York, the Vayanne will continue to be refined taking into consideration feedback from the public and potential customers. The company plans to make only 99 units for sale, with the first delivery in 2025.

2025 DEUS Vayanne EV

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‘Range anxiety’ was something which concerned many who were considering a battery electric vehicle (BEV). The earlier models could go just a 100+ kms on a fully charged battery pack but the distance gradually increased as battery technology advanced. As battery packs were made more energy-dense to store more electricity, the vehicle could go further and further before recharging was needed. Today, the average is around 350 kms but just as with the consumption of fuel by combustion engines, range is affected by driving conditions and driving style.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

But range anxiety is now less concerning not only as cruising distances increase but the network of recharging stations is also growing. So it is possible to ‘refill’ along the way on a long journey and now, it is more a matter of how long that takes – and manufacturers are also reducing the time.

Battery technology has come a long way in the past decade and if we take the Nissan LEAF as an example, the range with the first generation launched in 2010 was under 200 kms; today, the latest generation is claimed to be able to go up to 385 kms.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

Breaking through technological barriers
In future, the distance will be even greater and Mercedes-Benz has proven that it is possible to go up to 1,000 kms on a single charge. This was achieved with the VISION EQXX technology demonstrator which the company is using to test technologies under development. This software-defined research prototype is part of a far-reaching technology programme that combines the latest digital technology with the brand’s pioneering spirit, the agility of a start-up and the speed of Formula 1. The mission in developing the VISION EQXX was to break through technological barriers across the board.

“The VISION EQXX is the result of a comprehensive programme that provides a blueprint for the future of automotive engineering. Many of the innovative developments are already being integrated into production, some of them in the next generation of modular architecture for compact and midsize Mercedes‑Benz vehicles. And the journey continues. With the VISION EQXX, we will keep testing the limits of what’s possible,” said Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Purchasing.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

From Germany to the south of France
To show what is electrically ‘feasible’, the research vehicle completed a 1-day road trip across several European borders: from Germany across the Swiss Alps to Switzerland, on to Italy, past Milan and finally to its destination, the port town of Cassis in the south of France. The journey started in cold and rainy conditions and proceeded at regular road speeds, including prolonged fast-lane cruising at up to 140 km/h on the German autobahn and near the speed limits elsewhere.

The route profile set and the weather conditions presented the VISION EQXX with a wide variety of challenges. Different various sections of the route helped document the effect of the many efficiency measures. These measures include tyres specially developed by Bridgestone with extremely low rolling-resistance.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

Throughout the journey of 11 hours and 32 minutes, it was not recharged and covered 1,008 kms in everyday traffic – with the battery’s state of charge on arrival shown as being around 15%. That was estimated to be good for another 140 kms or so, and the average consumption was a record-breaking low of 8.7 kWh per 100 kms.

Power from sunshine
However, Mercedes-Benz reveals that although it did not receive conventional recharging, it still received electricity from an external source – the sun. On its roof are 117 solar cells to collect sunshine which is converted to electricity and fed to the 12V battery. This battery does not power the electric motors but supplies power to auxiliary areas such as the navigation system. This this removes the demand from the high-voltage battery pack. The solar panel feature is said to increase  the range by more than 2%, which adds up to 25 kms on a journey of over 1,000 kms.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

Like most other BEVs, the VISION EQXX also uses recuperation – the recovery of braking energy – to provide some energy to the battery pack while on the move. The recuperation effect occurs on any type of gradient and during every braking manoeuvre.

The VISION EQXX was driven in real-life conditions and to have independent proof, the charging socket was sealed, and the car accompanied by a representative from TUV Sud, the independent German certification body.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

Technological advancements accelerating
In the early era of the PC (personal computer) in the 1980s, the processing power doubled every two years, but this has accelerated as time passed. It might be the same for battery and EV technology which is continuously advancing each year so from the 500 kms possible in some models today, the increases might be greater and who knows, by the next decade, the 1000-km range which is amazing today might be possible in BEVs for sale to the public.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX

The most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built – the Vision EQXX


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