Fast Lane

Nissan Kicks to be launched here next month.
Nissan Kicks to be launched here next month.PHOTOS: BYD, FIAT, LOTUS, NISSAN
Lotus, Centrica team up to transform EV ownership.
Lotus, Centrica team up to transform EV ownership.PHOTOS: BYD, FIAT, LOTUS, NISSAN
Volvo cars to be powered by Luminar's Lidar technology.
Volvo cars to be powered by Luminar's Lidar technology.PHOTOS: BYD, FIAT, LOTUS, NISSAN
BYD flagship electric car can clock 3.9-second century sprint.
BYD flagship electric car can clock 3.9-second century sprint.PHOTOS: BYD, FIAT, LOTUS, NISSAN

Nissan Kicks to be launched here next month

Nissan has unveiled its second e-Power model - the Kicks urban crossover. Like the Serena e-Power multipurpose vehicle, the Kicks runs on pure electric power. Its battery is recharged by a 1.2-litre petrol engine which makes 129hp and 260Nm.

The hybrid behaves like an electric car, with instant torque and "one-pedal driving". It comes with a suite of active safety features, including Intelligent Trace Control (a lane-keeping assistance) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The car will be launched in Singapore next month with seven airbags and a price tag of around $100,000.

Lotus, Centrica team up to transform EV ownership

Chinese-owned British sports carmaker Lotus has teamed up with Centrica (parent company of British Gas) to develop a new model for electric vehicle ownership that "fully integrates future mobility and energy".

By making the car an extension of the home, capable of storing electricity, minimising emissions and generating new income by providing services to the energy market, the companies aim to redefine the customer relationship with cars - one controlled by smart devices at home and on the move.

The energy company will also facilitate a sustainability programme which leverages "innovative, low-carbon technologies and helps mitigate the environmental impact of everything from manufacturing through to sales and the day-to-day activities of Lotus employees".

The partnership will help establish a new global charging and energy infrastructure for the maker of the Evija super electric car.

Volvo cars to be powered by Luminar's Lidar technology

Volvo Cars is partnering tech firm Luminar to provide Lidar for its next generation of vehicles. Lidar is short for light detection and ranging, a guidance system widely used in autonomous vehicles.

The partnership will deliver Volvo's first fully self-driving technology for highways from 2022, the Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker says. Lidar sensors emit millions of pulses of laser light to scan the environment in 3D, allowing them to accurately detect where objects are.

BYD flagship electric car can clock 3.9-second century sprint

BYD has announced a car which might well be a Chinese version of something in between the Tesla Model 3 and Model S.

The Han EV, its upcoming flagship model, is the first to feature the company's "blade battery", which promises enhanced safety, improved range and compactness.

A high-performance silicon carbide motor-control propels the Han EV from zero to 100kmh in 3.9 seconds. The car promises a range of 605km. There is no word on when the model will reach showrooms.

Discounted rates on car subscription for healthcare workers

BMW Financial Services and Sime Darby are offering healthcare workers discounts on its Access by BMW car subscription platform during the circuit breaker. They are also waiving the one-time activation fee of $1,000. With the offer, a BMW 1-series is now available to healthcare professionals for $1,500 a month, or $50 a day. This is about 34 per cent cheaper than the lowest rate Access charges for the 1-series.

Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot to withhold 2019 dividend payout 

The boards of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot have decided not to pay ordinary dividend for last year because of "a collapse in consumer demand resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic", Reuters reported.

The health crisis has thrown the global car industry into the worst tailspin since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Consumer demand for vehicles has plummeted as governments across Europe and the United States enforce lockdowns. The two companies also confirmed that preparations for their merger are advancing with respect to antitrust and other regulatory filings.

Porsche extends car warranty worldwide 

Porsche is extending its new car warranty by three months. Warranty plans expiring between March 1 and May 31 will be extended free of charge for customers worldwide.

This also applies to customers who have already purchased a Porsche Approved warranty following the expiration of their new car warranty.

BMW Group to cut up to half of drivetrain variants BMW Group will eliminate up to 50 per cent of its current drivetrain variants from next year in a transition towards "enhanced flexible vehicle architectures".

By the end of 2022, BMW says it intends to save more than €12 billion (S$18.4 billion) through efficiency-boosting measures.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2020, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe