Fast Lane: Human-centric Ford Focus

The new Ford Focus.
The new Ford Focus.PHOTO: FORD
Audi’s e-tron Vision Gran Turismo
Audi’s e-tron Vision Gran TurismoPHOTO: AUDI
 The e-SIV (which stands for Electronic Smart Interface Vehicle)
The e-SIV (which stands for Electronic Smart Interface Vehicle)PHOTO: SSANGYONG
Audi A6 Avant
Audi A6 AvantPHOTO: AUDI
Alpina B5 Biturbo
Alpina B5 BiturboPHOTO: BMW

Human-centric Ford Focus

The new Ford Focus, which may arrive here by the middle of next year, is said to have a "human-centric" design.

Outside, the most obvious change is its new grille, which no longer resembles Aston Martin's.

Inside, the car will feature speed sign recognition and active lane keeping. Predictive curve light and sign-based lights help drivers see more clearly. Head-up display will also be available, as well as automatic parking.

In case the human wants to drive, there is drive mode selection, a chassis which is said to be 20 per cent stiffer and independent rear suspension with continuously controlled damping (a first for Focus).

A connected infotainment system, wireless phone-charging and a B&O hi-fi are also available. It will be powered by a range of turbo engines, mated to an eight-speed autobox.

Porsche's push for electric powertrain

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has accepted Porsche's application as a Formula E manufacturer. This means that the Weissach factory team can continue to pursue the development of its own electric powertrain.

Porsche plans to be among those competing in the sixth season of the global electric racing series at the end of next year.

Formula E will provide the chassis as well as the battery. All powertrain components, however, are the competitors' own developments. Porsche's entry into Formula E will coincide with the market launch of its electric Mission E.

Subaru gets new technology for electric vehicle tests

NI, a provider of platform-based systems for engineers and scientists, will supply Subaru with hardware-in-the-loop technology to simulate actual road conditions for electric vehicle testing. By adopting this system, Subaru has reduced its electric vehicle test development times by 90 per cent and lowered purchasing costs to 33 per cent of alternative solutions, according to NI.

Mercedes Euro 6 garbage trucks here

Mercedes-Benz has supplied SembWaste with a trial fleet of Euro 6 garbage trucks. This marks the first time the Euro 6 disposal truck is being used in Asia. The Mercedes-Benz BlueTec 6 engine, with a displacement of 7.7 litres and an output of 299hp, is paired with an Allison six-speed automatic transmission. All axles are fully air-suspended.

From PlayStation to Formula E race

Originally developed for virtual races on PlayStation 4, Audi's e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be deployed as a race taxi at the Formula E race this weekend in Rome. The car has permanent all-wheel-drive and is powered by three electric motors, each producing 200kW. Two motors drive the rear axle and the third one, the front. System output is 600kW, carrying a kerb weight of 1,450kg, allowing the car to reach 100kmh in less than 2.5 seconds.

Ssangyong's electric concept

Ssangyong of South Korea has developed an electric SUV concept called e-SIV - the brand's fifth. The e-SIV (which stands for Electronic Smart Interface Vehicle) offers a high degree of connectivity and autonomous capability. Design-wise, it gives a strong hint of what future Ssangyong SUVs will look like.

Audi takes on Volvo

The new Audi A6 Avant may just be the thing to give the Volvo V90 some competition. It will have a range of four-and six-cylinder engines with mild electric hybrid assistance. Four suspension configurations and dynamic all-wheel steering will be optional features. Navigation, infotainment and driver-assistance systems will be standard fare. It is slated to arrive by the first half of next year.

Tesla's statement on 'driver inattentiveness' draws criticism

Safety advocates and autonomous-vehicle experts criticised Tesla for issuing another statement about the death of a customer which pinned the blame on driver inattentiveness.

Days after publishing a second blog post about the crash involving Mr Walter Huang, a 38-year-old who died last month in his Model X, Tesla issued a statement in response to his family speaking with San Francisco TV station ABC7.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla said the "only" explanation for the crash was "if Mr Huang was not paying attention to the road, despite the car providing multiple warnings to do so".

Ms Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said: "I find it shocking."

The group, as well as other consumer reports, have criticised Tesla for years for naming its driver-assistance system Autopilot. In reality, the system is semi-autonomous and requires driver inputs.

Tesla chief Elon Musk claimed almost 18 months ago that the system will eventually render Tesla vehicles capable of full self-driving.

Performance sports car based on BMW 5-series

Munich Automobiles has launched the latest Alpina B5 Biturbo, a performance sportscar based on the BMW 5-series. Equipped with a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 which churns out 608hp and 800Nm of torque, the sedan variant hits 100kmh in 3.5 seconds and tops out at 330kmh. The wagon variant does it in 3.7 seconds and peaks at 322kmh.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2018, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe