Fast Lane: Opel's electric Astra, Land Rover Defender V8 Bond Edition

The eighth-generation Astra will also be available as a plug-in hybrid with two performance levels.
The eighth-generation Astra will also be available as a plug-in hybrid with two performance levels.PHOTO: OPEL

Opel's electric Astra to launch in 2023

Opel will start selling an electric version of its popular Astra hatchback in 2023.

The eighth-generation Astra will also be available as a plug-in hybrid with two performance levels. Petrol and diesel powertrains will kick off the new line-up in 2022.

The Astra's sharper exterior is matched by a fully digital cockpit with a new interface.

It features two glass-to-edge 10-inch screens. Best-in-class ergonomic seats, LED illumination and a slew of driving aids (including semi-autonomous lane-changing) will be part of the package. A wagon variant will follow.

One-fifth of Singaporeans ready to buy a full EV

A new survey conducted by BMW Group Asia has revealed that 46 per cent of Singaporean drivers are looking to purchase an electrified model as their next car, with 24 per cent voting for a plug-in hybrid and 22 per cent going for a full electric vehicle (EV).

The online survey polled 1,000 Singaporeans, of whom at least 700 hold a driver's licence.

Singaporeans on average purchase a new car every three to five years, with three in four Singaporean drivers indicating a level of familiarity with EVs.

In spite of this, misconceptions still exist among respondents, with the most common being that EVs are difficult to charge (41 per cent) and that EVs can travel up to 100km before needing to recharge (41 per cent).

But the same group recognises the benefits associated with owning an EV.

For 87 per cent of the respondents, a key benefit was the reduction in carbon emissions. Other benefits highlighted were the growing number of government incentives (65 per cent) and cost savings from using electricity instead of petrol (59 per cent).

The name's Bond, Defender Bond


The car is based on the recently launched 525hp Defender V8 and is available in both 90 and 110 styles. PHOTO: LAND ROVER

Land Rover's SV Bespoke division has created a Land Rover Defender V8 Bond Edition to mark the Defender's role in the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die.

The car is based on the recently launched 525hp Defender V8 and is available in both 90 and 110 styles. It features black paintwork, 22-inch gloss black wheels and blue front-brake callipers.

Unique "Defender 007" rear badge, "007" puddle lamp, illuminated "007" treadplates and exclusive animation on its 11.4-inch infotainment touchscreen are part of the James Bond theme.

Malaysia to have Porsche assembly

Porsche will start a small-scale assembly operation in Malaysia with Sime Darby. The vehicles will specifically match local requirements and will be available for Malaysia only.

Cars will roll out from this facility from next year (2022). The new assembly site "signals our willingness to learn and adapt to specific local market conditions", the German carmaker said. Malaysia accords preferential tax treatment to locally assembled cars.

High-powered EV from Cupra in 2025


Cupra Urban Rebel concept will be launched in 2025. PHOTO: CUPRA

Cupra, Seat's performance brand, has unveiled the Urban Rebel concept - an electric car which will be launched in 2025.

Measuring 4,080mm by 1,795mm and standing at 1,444mm tall, the Cupra EV delivers up to 320kW of power. It accelerates from zero to 100kmh in 3.2 seconds.

Rivian poised to float in November

Amazon-backed electric truck maker Rivian has filed for an initial public offering and is seeking a roughly US$80 billion (S$107.6 billion) valuation, reported Bloomberg.

The Irvine, California-based start-up is expected to be listed in late November. With US$10.5 billion raised from backers, including Amazon, Ford Motor Co, an established factory in Illinois and thousands of reservation holders for its R1T truck and R1S sport utility vehicle, Rivian is among the most serious competitors lining up to take on Tesla.

Hyundai robotaxi to ply in US in 2023


The Level 4 autonomous vehicle is Motional's first commercial vehicle which will begin transporting commuters in 2023. PHOTO: HYUNDAI

Motional, a rebranded joint venture between Hyundai Motor and Aptiv (previously known as Nutonomy), has unveiled a robotaxi based on the Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric car.

The Level 4 autonomous vehicle is Motional's first commercial vehicle which will begin transporting commuters in 2023 through a partnership with US ride-hailing firm Lyft.

DS to launch EV with 640km range

From 2024, every new DS Automobiles model will be available with an electric powertrain. The avant-garde premium brand of Citroen, now residing within the Stellantis group, will usher in the first 100 per cent electric project based on a new platform. The cars will offer more than 640km of zero-emission range.

Connectivity problems irk car buyers most: JD Power

Smartphones failing to connect properly with vehicle infotainment systems is now the No. 1 gripe among consumers, according to the latest study by market research firm JD Power.

Overall, JD Power says electronic and infotainment system malfunctions are the cause of six of the top 10 complaints from US buyers of 2021 cars and trucks, despite years of effort by carmakers to better integrate digital technology.

While complaints about mechanical defects have generally declined, consumer frustration persists with complex dashboard screens, radios without physical volume knobs and, now, phones that will not connect seamlessly with dashboard system software, Reuters reported.