Fast Lane

Hyundai Santa Fe.
Hyundai Santa Fe.PHOTO: HYUNDAI
DS7 Crossback.
Mercedes-Benz Energy will soon deliver its first energy storage units.
Mercedes-Benz Energy will soon deliver its first energy storage units.PHOTO: MERCEDES-BENZ
Honda Civic Type R.
Honda Civic Type R.PHOTO: HONDA

Hyundai Santa Fe conquers Antarctica

A 2.2-litre Hyundai Santa Fe has become the first passenger vehicle to be driven across Antarctica from Union Camp to McMurdo - a 30-day, 4,800km trek - and back. The Santa Fe was driven by Mr Patrick Bergel, the great-grandson of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. The journey took place in December last year.

43 per cent in Singapore say yes to battery-powered vehicles

About 43 per cent of motorists in Singapore say they are willing to consider a battery-powered vehicle as their next car, according to a survey conducted by consultancy firm Roland Berger. This is more than those polled in Germany, France, Britain, Holland, Japan and the United States (which had the lowest positive response of 20 per cent). But it was lower than those in India, South Korea and China (highest at 60 per cent). As for the percentage of people who would give up buying a car if autonomous taxis were more affordable than cars on a per trip basis, Singapore was ranked fourth with 51 per cent of respondents saying they would give up buying a car. Japan, France and Holland had between 56 and 59 per cent saying they would do so. But the rest of the same countries polled threw up percentages of 27 to 49 per cent (with China being the lowest).

DS7 Crossback to come next year

The DS7 Crossback will be produced and will arrive in Singapore by the third quarter of next year. Citroen agent Cycle & Carriage says the car is a premium SUV from Citroen's sub-brand DS. Like all DS models, it is likely to be priced around 20 per cent higher than an equivalent Citroen model. Citroen is also trying to peg DS pricing to just below Audi pricing, an indication of its ambition to be the French Lexus.

Bamboo strong enough to use in cars

While investment in research has led to breakthroughs in new materials such as carbon-fibre and lightweight aluminium, an equivalent product can be found in nature. Bamboo, which grows up to a metre a day, could soon find its way into cars.

The strong and flexible material rivals various metals in tensile strength. In experiments carried out by Ford, it has been found to retain its strength even when heated to more than 100 deg C.

Homing in on Mercedes-Benz energy storage units

Mercedes-Benz Energy will soon deliver its first energy storage units for residential use in the United Kingdom.

Similar to storage devices marketed by Tesla, the lithium-ion battery packs are based on a technology used by Daimler since 2012, and which has been applied in more than 80,000 hybrid and full-electric vehicles.

Up to eight battery modules with an energy capacity of 2.5kWh each can be combined to produce an energy storage unit with a capacity of up to 20kWh.

Households with solar energy systems can store surplus power with virtually no losses.

Record-breaking Honda Civic Type R

The new Honda Civic Type R has set a new record for front- wheel-drive cars at Germany's infamous Nurburgring circuit.

The 2-litre turbocharge 320bhp/ 400Nm hot hatch, fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox, clocked 7min 43.8sec. The record feat was accomplished on April 3. The car is to be built in Swindon, United Kingdom.

Ford's smart speed limiter

Ford is introducing an intelligent speed limiter function - first in the S-Max MPV - that keeps to speed limits posted on road signs.

Between 32kmh and 192kmh, the technology utilises speed limit information from its Traffic Sign Recognition system.

In vehicles equipped with onboard navigation, the limiter also uses map data for improved accuracy.

The system does not apply the brakes, but smoothly controls engine torque by electronically adjusting the amount of fuel delivered. If the car overruns the set maximum speed because of a downhill gradient, an alarm sounds.

Drivers can also override the system by pressing firmly on the accelerator.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2017, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe