Fast Lane: Porsche set to build Mission E electric racer

Porsche's Mission E electric racer.
Porsche's Mission E electric racer.PHOTOS: PORSCHE, MERCEDES, MCLAREN, CIAZ, MCLAREN, BUGATTI

Porsche set to build Mission E electric racer

Porsche's board has given the green light for the Mission E electric racer to be built.

It will be the carmaker's first all-electric car and will be in showrooms by 2020.

The company is investing €700 million (S$1.08 billion) and creating 1,000 new jobs for this project. Its existing engine factory will be expanded to produce electric motors.

The Mission E concept is a four-door, four-seater boasting more than 440kW of power. It will hit 100kmh in under 3.5 seconds and have a range of more than 500km.

Charged via an 800-volt charger unit developed specially for the car, which is twice as powerful as today's quick-charge systems, the lithium-ion batteries integrated within the vehicle floor have enough power again for 80 per cent of the range after just 15 minutes.


VW cars here unaffected by scandal

After a month-long investigation, Volkswagen has confirmed that none of the cars sold here is affected by a CO2 emissions scandal. Only nine model variants sold elsewhere, including the Polo 1.0TSI, Jetta 1.2TSI and Gol 2.0TDI, are affected.

As for the nitrogen oxide issue that is affecting 11 million Volkswagen Group cars around the world, VW says the software change for the 2-litre engine is expected to be available in Singapore in the first quarter of next year.

The hardware modification for the 1.6 will be available later.


Luxurious, smart E-class

The next Mercedes-Benz E-class, due next year, will be more luxurious and clever. In fact, it is so intelligent that it can change lanes on its own. Using a radar-andcamera system, Active Lane Change Assist takes the guesswork out of lane-changing. When the driver activates the turn indicator for more than two seconds, the car steers into the adjacent lane on its own when it is safe to do so.

The car's interior (above) is posher, with a 12.3-inch high-resolution dual display that appears to hover in space. It will have touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to access the infotainment system using finger swipes.


Suzuki Ciaz makes debut

Suzuki agent Champion Motors has launched the Ciaz, quite likely the last new model of the year. The Thai-made 1.4-litre sedan will do battle with other budget four-doors such as the Toyota Vios, Honda City and Mitsubishi Attrage.

It comes with keyless access and ignition, a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, a reverse camera, a multi-function steering wheel and automatic airconditioning. It boasts a 495-litre boot that is said to hold up to four golf bags. Prices start at $104,900.


McLaren 675LT Spider due next year

McLaren's convertible version of the 675LT has a retractable roof and 675bhp/700Nm at its disposal. Weighing 1,270kg, it has a power- to-weight ratio of 532bhp for every tonne.

It wears a unique paintwork and 20-spoke super-lightweight forged alloys. Only 500 will be made.

The 675LT Spider will be in Singapore in the second half of next year.


Welcome to McLaren's new home

The new home of McLaren opened its doors on Monday. The 915 sq m facility at 5 Leng Kee Road accommodates up to four cars and includes a workshop.

Agent Eurokars Supersports - part of entrepreneur Karsono Kwee's Eurokars Group - clinched the franchise earlier this year from Wearnes Automotive.

Meanwhile, former Porsche Asia-Pacific managing director Christer Ekberg has joined Eurokars as its chief operating officer.


Check out four-wheel-drive Tivoli

Ssangyong's Tivoli is available with four-wheel-drive. The variant is powered by a 1.6-litre Euro 6 turbodiesel mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed Aisin automatic transmission.

It has multi-link rear suspension, a 1.5-tonne towing capability and a generous spread of features.


VW 'drops plans for 10-speeder'

Volkswagen has apparently dropped plans to make a 10-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

According to online motoring journals, VW decided against it because of the cost and complexity of the project.

Meanwhile, Toyota, Ford and General Motors are going ahead with their plans to launch a 10-speeder.


Ford Focus calls police in accident

A woman's Ford Focus called the police after she hit a truck and a van and fled the scene. According to online automotive site Jalopnik, the Focus was equipped with "911 Assist", which automatically dials the police in the event of an accident. Cathy Bernstein, 57, of Florida, was eventually arrested.


Ford to recycle engines

Engines today are designed to operate for many years and several hundred thousand kilometres. However, in instances when an engine does fail, it is common that faulty units are replaced with a new one.

Ford's plasma transferred wire arc coating technology applies a spray to the inside of the engine block that helps restore it to its original factory condition. This thermal spray coating allows Ford to halve CO2 emission associated with manufacturing.

Ford is also working with food company Heinz to explore the use of dried tomato skin for wiring brackets in a vehicle, or storage bins. Ford is already using a plastic-metal hybrid material for the front grille of Focus.


Hyundai rolls out fuel-cell taxis

Hyundai Motor has delivered five ix35 fuel-cell cars to a new Paris taxi operator. The ix35 taxis will save an estimated 70 tonnes of CO2 in Greater Paris area.

The city has set up its first hydrogen refuelling station. Fuel cells make use of hydrogen, which is mixed with oxygen in the air, to create electricity.

The fleet is expected to grow to several hundred vehicles within five years, with the refuelling infrastructure expanding gradually.


Bugatti teams up with yacht-maker to make luxury boats

Yacht-maker Palmer Johnson has partnered Bugatti for a new line of luxury watercraft.

The first is named Niniette, built with a carbon-fibre hull and available in three sizes. Prices start at €2 million (S$3.07 million).


Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'FastLane'. Print Edition | Subscribe