Fast Lane: EV voltages rising

Volkswagen ID R.
Skoda students turn Kodiaq into truck.
Skoda students turn Kodiaq into truck.PHOTO: SKODA
Suzuki’s new Katana.
Suzuki’s new Katana.PHOTO: SUZUKI
Kia XCeed.
BMW M8 Coupe (left) and M8 Convertible (right).
BMW M8 Coupe (left) and M8 Convertible (right).PHOTO: BMW
Mercedes-AMG CLA35.
Solar-powered tuk-tuk.
Solar-powered tuk-tuk.PHOTO: SOLAR TUK-TUK

EV voltages rising: Report 

An IDTechEx report titled Electric Vehicles 2020-2030 found that voltages for electric cars are rising, giving lighter-weight, smaller motors and interconnects, greater efficiency, less heat and faster charging.

Pure electric vehicles going to 800 volts include Fisker's Emotion launching this year, the planned Chevrolet Camaro race car, Porsche Taycan coming to market by year-end, an Audi supercar prototype, and Aston Martin Rapide E GT-supersaloon. An 800-volt Genovation Corvette that achieves top speed over 320kmh is also on the way.

Setting up high-voltage charging points will pose a challenge for households, as would fire risks. The report said new batteries "to be launched at an undefined date" will be more suitable for high voltages and fastest charging without fire risk. Meanwhile, a range of 200km is promised within nine minutes of charging.

Volkswagen ID R breaks lap record for electric car

Volkswagen has set a new record on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife circuit with an electric car. Its ID R, powered by two electric motors, lapped the hellish track in 6:05.336 minutes - faster than any electric vehicle before it. Driver Romain Dumas beat the previous record set by Peter Dumbreck in 2017 by 40.564 seconds. The 500kW ID R clocked an average speed of 206.96kmh.

Skoda students turn Kodiaq into truck 

After eight months, 35 apprentices from the Skoda Vocational School have created a pick-up truck based on the Skoda Kodiaq. Called the Mountiaq, the concept has a light bar on the roof and a distinctive front featuring a winch, bullbar and special lighting effects. It was the sixth consecutive time students at the school have come up with a realistic concept.

Luxury driving without hassle 

BMW Financial Services and BMW agent Performance Motors have teamed up to launch a short-term leasing scheme called Flow. The companies describe it as "an all-new mobility programme that allows you to enjoy the luxury of driving a BMW without the significant initial investment that comes with purchasing a new car".

For as short a term as 18 months, folks who do not want to be bothered with the hassle of insurance, road tax or maintenance can drive off with a new BMW. With no hefty down payment or a hire-purchase loan, Flow does not impact a consumer's personal financial rating. The scheme also offers cash rebates.

Revived Suzuki classic expected to arrive next month 

Suzuki's new Katana, a sports bike which made a name for itself when it was first launched four decades ago, is expected to arrive in Singapore as early as next month. The 999cc four-cylinder, 215kg motorcycle retains some styling elements which made the 1981 original stand out, with new elements such as LED lights and a free-floating rear. It is expected to start from around $28,000 before certificate of entitlement and insurance.

Kia XCeed more than a coupe 

The XCeed is Kia's take on the coupe crossover, a murky but strangely sexy genre. Due to be unveiled on June 26, it has a swept-back, coupe-like design penned at Kia's European design centre in Frankfurt. The combination of its elevated ride height and lower hip point gives the car a sportier driving position than a traditional sport utility vehicle (SUV).

More dynamic in format and design than its taller rivals, the XCeed is said to offer comparable levels of interior space and luggage capacity to Europe's best-selling SUVs.

Bigger, sportier Mercedes-AMG CLA35

The new Mercedes-AMG CLA35 Shooting Brake is a five-door model combining the powerful proportions of a sporty coupe with the extra functionality of a wagon. Its high-torque 2-litre four-cylinder engine delivers 306hp, which is variably distributed to the front and rear axle via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The car hits 100kmh in 4.9 seconds.

BMW M8 packs 625hp

BMW has created its most powerful M engine - a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 producing 625hp and 750Nm - for its M8 line-up. Mated to an eight-speed autobox, it sends the M8 Coupe and M8 Convertible to 100kmh in 3.2 and 3.3 seconds respectively. The high-revving engine is fitted with two turbochargers, cross-bank exhaust manifolds, direct injection with increased pressure, plus cooling and oil supply systems designed for hard driving. The all-wheel-drive M8 twins have a top speed of 303kmh.

Solar-powered tuk-tuk's global

30,000km journey A solar-powered tuk-tuk traversing the earth? That is what a group of young Australians aim to do, with a three-wheeler converted to run on sun power.

Kicking off from Melbourne on Nov 24 last year, the long-range solar five-seater with an average range of 300km a charge will cover more than 30,000km. It is expected to reach Thailand this month, where it will head for Myanmar, before crossing over to India next month.

By September, it is expected to be in Iran, where it will head for Turkey, and then Europe by November.

Volvo and POC develop world-first bicycle helmet crash tests

Volvo Cars is teaming up with Swedish sports and safety brand POC for a series of world-first crash tests of bicycle helmets against cars. Accidents between bikes and vehicles can often lead to serious injury or death. Cyclist detection with full automatic braking is already applied on newer Volvo cars. The Volvo-POC research consists of a number of specially designed crash tests at Volvo's safety research facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is part of a wider research project to understand the types of long-term injuries sustained by cyclists.

Hyundai Kona hybrid for Europe only

Hyundai Motor has expanded its Kona line-up with a hybrid. The petrol-electric subcompact crossover, however, is only for Europe. Launched in 2017, the Kona is currently available in Singapore with a petrol or an electric powertrain.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe