Fast Lane: Battista clocks 0-100kmh in 1.86 seconds, Stellantis acquires AI firm, traditional handbrake disappearing

The Pininfarina Battista going through its paces at the Dubai Autodrome on Monday. PHOTO: PININFARINA

Pininfarina Battista sets new records

Luxury Italian carmaker Automobili Pininfarina has set a number of new records with its Battista all-electric sports car at the Dubai Autodrome on Monday. The car clocked a 0-100kmh sprint in 1.86 seconds, a 0-200kmh dash in 4.75 seconds, and stopping from 100-0kmh in 31m (a world record for an electric car).

At the same time, it posted a range of 480km – also a record for an electric supercar. The 1,900hp/2,300Nm quad-motor all-wheel-drive is expected to hit 300kmh in under 12 seconds and a top speed of more than 350kmh.

Made in Cambiano, Italy, the car is being delivered to first customers worldwide.

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ZF rolling out new line of motors

German components maker ZF has unveiled a new line of electric drivetrains which promise “excellent power density and efficiency”. They comprise motors, power electronics, transmission and software, which, among other things, offer shorter charging time.

ZF says its products are modular and configurable, with compact designs that minimise space and use of materials, and that its backlog of e-drive systems stands at €25 billion (S$35.9 billion).

Have monster truck, will travel

The Hennessey Mammoth 1000 TRX Overland in its natural habitat. PHOTO: HENNESSEY

American niche carmaker Hennessey has equipped its 1,012bhp Mammoth 1000 TRX with overlanding equipment for adventure-oriented owners. The Overland Edition is available on the Mammoth 900 Ram TRX as well, with the pack costing US$19,950 (S$27,470).

With the pack, the Texas-based company says the world’s most powerful pickup truck will be able to go “further into the wild than ever before”. The modular system uses a robust TRX bed rack as its foundation, topped by a convenient hard-shell rooftop tent that takes minutes to set up.

A retractable 55-inch awning provides shade and shelter, while auxiliary fuel tanks and a pressurised water reservoir are also mounted on the rack to increase range and utility.

Other accessories include a 28-inch splitting axe, shovel, LED perimeter illumination, Grab handles, and a retractable ladder to improve accessibility to the tent and equipment.  

Stellantis bets big on artificial intelligence

Euro-American auto group Stellantis has acquired seven-year-old Budapest-based artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous driving group aiMotive. Stellantis says the purchase will enhance its own know-how in the field, and boost the mid-term development of its STLA AutoDrive platform.  

aiMotive’s technology product portfolio is focused on four key areas within AI and autonomous driving: embedded software stack for autonomous driving; AI operations and data tooling; expertise and intellectual property for silicon microchips; and software simulation for development of autonomous driving.

Chinese carmakers aim for top safety scores

Nio’s flagship ET7 electric saloon is among the latest Chinese cars to clinch five-star European crashworthiness rating. PHOTO: NIO

Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) makers have set their sights on winning over European drivers and large corporate customers with more affordable cars that come with top safety ratings and lots of high-tech features, according to Reuters.

In the last few months, several Chinese EVs have received five-star European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) ratings – an achievement that requires loading vehicles with active and passive safety features that go well beyond legal requirements.

For instance, the Nio ET7 has just clinched five stars on NCAP. In October, the BYD Atto 3 landed the top score. And Xpeng’s P7 did the same last year.

Five-star NCAP ratings are seen as key to overcoming residual European concerns over the quality of Chinese cars, after awful crash test failures in 2006 and 2007 created an impression that cars from China were unsafe.

Nearly nine in 10 new cars in Britain come with electronic parking brake

The electronic parking brake has become mainstream. PHOTO: CARGURUS

Only 13 per cent of new cars available to British car buyers come with a traditional manual handbrake, a nearly 20 per cent drop since 2019.

Peugeot and BMW are the latest brands to completely convert to electronic parking brakes. The Nissan Micra, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 are some of the latest to drop the old-school lever.

Fiat’s Abarth remains the only manufacturer in Britain to offer a manual handbrake across its portfolio. According to CarGurus’ fifth annual instalment of the Manual Handbrake Report, manufacturers are continuing to make the switch to the electronic handbrake at pace, with models offering a manual handbrake falling to just 13 per cent in 2022, compared with 37 per cent in 2018.

Mazda gets serious about electrification

Mazda is poised to invest about 1.5 trillion yen (S$14.8 billion) for EV battery procurement by 2030, according to Reuters.

Globally, the Japanese marque will introduce 13 new electrified models between 2022 and 2025. These include five hybrid EVs, five plug-in hybrid EVs, and three EVs.

By 2030, 100 per cent of Mazda products will be electrified and pure-electric models will account for at least 25 per cent of the line-up. Currently, it has only one all-electric model – the MX-30 subcompact crossover.

Meanwhile, Reuters also reported that South Korean battery maker LG Chem will invest more than US$3 billion to build a battery cathode plant in the United States.

Polestar’s charity drive

Donors can drop off food items at the Polestar showroom at 45 Leng Kee Road until Sunday during its opening hours. PHOTO: POLESTAR/FACEBOOK

Polestar Singapore has tied up with charity group Food from the Heart for a food drive. Donors can drop off food items at the Polestar showroom at 45 Leng Kee Road until Sunday during its opening hours (8.30am to 7pm). Cash donations are also accepted via PayNow (UEN: 200721064R). For a list of items in need, go to Polestar’s Facebook page (

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