Rohan

A wanderlust, a foodie, an amateur photographer and a die hard automobile enthusiast. Gifted with the art of playing with words (and sentences) I've been writing (initially started with satirical writing) for a couple of years. Meet me on a good day and i'll definitely narrate my story (with a cup of tea and hopefully some delicious pakoda's) on how writing scripted my life. Happy reading :)

Sweden’s Zbee Helps India

Zbee car

Clean Motion, a Swedish company has launched its advanced electric commercial vehicle, ‘Zbee’ in India.

The Zbee looks pretty much like a rickshaw. However, this 3-wheeled electronic ride is here for a major transportation and economical change.

Zbee India

Zbee is already running successfully across Europe and Indonesia, and would be used as last mile connectivity in the CyberHub area of Gurgaon as an active toll of green vehicles in the first phase. Post its launch on February 10, the company flagged off its commercial operation. As part of a cluster, 25 Zbees will provide last-mile connectivity from the CyberHub to nearby offices of DLF Cyber City and later on to the metro stations. The zero-emission Zbee is currently imported as a CKD kit.

Under its pact with DLF, Zbees will function from various retail formats in Delhi-NCR. Homologated by ICAT Manesar and certified by government authorities as an electric vehicle with a registered number plate, about 100 Zbees per month will be locally assembled at Faridabad; local manufacturing is being explored at a later stage. The Zbee is currently sold in Sweden and Indonesia and India will be the third country on its radar.

 

Why is this a fun to drive electric you ask?

Build:

The Zbee is made from a fibre reinforced plastic body, the lightweight EV weighs around 270kg enabling it to strike a balance between its light body structure and safety requirements. The Zbee weighs in just within the 1500 kilogram limit, thereby making it quite nimble.

Energy Efficient:

The perfect vehicle for short distance transportation of up to three people and smaller goods. The vehicle, through its energy efficiency and zero emissions will improve the environment both logically and globally.

Zbee

 

Fun to Drive:

The Zbee is quite a practically built, fun to drive vehicle that lets behind all the efforts and delivers safety. Zbee also offers parking ease, because this vehicle can even be parked inside your home.

Zbee Fun to drive

 

Practical:

Zbee is weather protected, seats three people with ease and features a protected luggage compartment. The parking brake has a lock and protects the vehicle from theft. It’s designed around your actual needs. Since when did you need a vehicle weighing 1500 kg, with a top speed of 200 km/h, just to go shopping?

Zbee Practical

 

Economical:

The battery powering the hi-tech motor charges quickly and needs little service. It costs only about a dime per 10 km of driving. The advanced lithium ion battery allows the Zbee to be driven for up to 50 kilometers. Recharging takes an hour, says Clean Motion. Later a rapid charging device, which enables a recharge within 30 minutes,  will be introduced.

The company claims that three Zbees fit into a single parking lot. Operating cost is 30 percent of the cost of a fossil fuel vehicle. It can seat two passengers and the driver and has a top speed of 45kph. In addition, it comes with a parking brake to prevent theft.

Fossil fuel-run vehicles have contributed significantly in adding to the carbon footprint and emissions in our environment. To combat this, we started developing technology which is lean, clean and safe and can be a potential alternative transport solution. This led to the Zbee,” says Goran Folkesson, CEO of Clean Motion.

Expanding footprints in India:

Clean Motion has so far invested over $1 million (Rs 6.6 crore) in its Indian operations and plans to invest another $10 million (Rs 66 crore) by 2017 for expanding its reach across India. An upcoming IPO to raise a capital of $5 million this April will go towards setting up a manufacturing facility for the Zbee in the vicinity of Faridabad, confirms Folkesson.

The target is to achieve about 70 percent localisation of parts over the next 6-8 months so as to bring down the production cost by 2017. At present the Zbee costs Rs 5 lakh and with indigenisation the product cost is expected to down by 50 percent within a year according to Anil Arora, country head of Clean Motion India.

The Faridabad assembly facility can roll out around 3,000-5,000 units annually and a new modern manufacturing plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 5,000 units as well. The target is to set up multiple micro factories for producing the Zbee in close proximity to its customers as it expands across the country.

At a rough estimate, each micro factory will require an area of 500-1000 square metres and involve an investment of Rs 4 crore producing 5,000 units annually. Franchisees will be tasked with marketing the Zbee.

It would soon be marketed in Delhi, Noida, Jaipur and other smart cities. The company aims to sell over 1,000 Zbees in India by March 2017.

The company plans to train women drivers for Zbee and would work with Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd and other organizations in this regard. It is expected to be a viable energy-efficient solution to the critical issues of pollution and last-mile connectivity in urban metros.

Besides, the company has entered into an arrangement with DLF to operate Zbees from various retail format in Delhi-NCR. Zbee has a fibre-reinforced plastic body, which is light as well as strong from a safety perspective. It comes with an advances lithium ion battery and a full charge allows it to be driven for up to 50 km.

Clean Motion has invested over $1 million in India so far and would be pumping in $10 million by 2017. Currently, Zbee is being assembled in India at Faridabad and the India team expects to bring down the production cost significantly by 2017.

Meanwhile, environmental body, CSE has said that the high number of diesel vehicles in the recently concluded Auto Expo shows a scary trend of high pollution causing models hitting the market despite 2,000-cc diesel engines being banned in the NCR till March 2016. CSE claimed that as many as 27 per cent of all displayed car/SUV models in Auto Expo were in the bracket of 2,000-cc diesel engines.

 Bottom Line:

We hope to see more Electronic vehicles that serve a better purpose in India soon. Hope you enjoyed the article? Please feel free to share/like/comment.

Supernova EV, First Indian electric car

You’d certainly be amazed by the looks of this car. It looks like a car that has been under the limelight starring in some movie. But, what if I tell you that this vehicle is 100 percent Indian? Yes, looks can be deceiving and this all-Indian sports car named SuperNova has proven so.

Super Nova

 

With the Indian auto market opening up to newer segments, the new genre of vehicles featuring alternate power trains are slowly finding acceptance across homes in the country. One such attempt by nascent Indian car maker Golden Arrow Wireless grabbed a lot of attention at the recently concluded Gujarat Auto Show when the company showcased the Super Nova Electric Vehicle (SNEV) that is capable of doing 1000 kms on a single charge of batteries.

Whooping no?

Drawing attention at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s 2014 Gujarat Auto Show held at Gandhi Nagar, the Supernova Electric Car is claimed to run 1000 km in a single charge of its battery. This electric prototype of sports car was introduced by Ahmedabad based Golden Arrow Wireless Pvt Ltd at the Auto Show. The company for setting up a plant for the manufacture of electric sports car has entered into an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Madhya Pradesh government, while this prototype still needs the approval of Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), confirmed Shashi Vyas, Founder, Golden Arrow Wireless.

The company is called Supernova and its car is called, yes, the SNEV. Granted, it helps that the car is a two-seater with a fiberglass body and is going to leverage speed.

This electric or green sports car named as SNEV (Supernova Electric Vehicle) is manufactured at Aslali facility of the company located in Ahmedabad. It is available in three variants based on the battery used in the car. They are as follows-

Lead- Acid battery– It weighs 300 kg (120 volt) which requires eight hours to get charged.

Lithium ion battery- It weighs 120 kg and charges up in two hours.

Super Capacitors battery- It weighs 20 kg and takes 5 minutes to charge.

This company seems to be following Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ vision seriously with the showcase of its electric car as ‘Made in Gujarat’ car. Vyas who is an aerospace engineer and also the founder of the company further said that the company has already been allocated with 100 acres land for setting up plant while the company is further looking up for odds to set up a plant in Gujarat.

Supernova electric car was introduced at the Gujarat Auto Show where other automobile market leaders like Maruti, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Tata Motors and Rolls Royce were also present. This car is still waiting for approval from ARAI which might take more time since they do not have any set rules for examining sports cars prototypes in India and this car being an electric sports car needs completely different rules, said Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI.

What Golden Arrow is yet to specify is the speed at which the Supernova has to be driven to achieve a range of 1000 kms. Realistically with that kind of a range, the Supernova will be beating the Tesla’s range of 440 kms as well as the Fiat 500e with a range of 140 kms and the Toyota RAV4 EV with a range of 165 kms, which makes us take the claim with a pinch of salt. Even though the model showcased here is a prototype, the design also needs rework and a lesser early 1990’s influence if the company is serious about retailing the model to new age and modern customers.

 

Mullah:

The Supernova is expected to be priced around Rs. 15-25 lakhs and will be India’s first indigenously developed electric sportscar. The Gujarat based automaker also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Madhya Pradesh government and has been alloted 100 acres of land for establishing a facility. The company is looking to establish a plant in its home state Gujarat as well and will be sourcing funding through venture capitalists.

 

SuperNova

Golden Arrow claims to have around 250 bookings for the electric sportscar and can deliver the same by the end of 2016 once the ARAI approval comes through. The company has raised around Rs. 500 crores for the project and has spent 100 crores in developing the car. It will need a total of Rs. 2500 crore investments to set-up a new manufacturing facility.

 

Bottom Line:

If given a chance, would you give this Make in India Sports car a go? Or will you rely more on the international players? Do write to us 🙂

2016 Upcoming Cars In India

The following article should drive you through the various upcoming cars that will add splendor to the Indian market. So, watch out for these new hot rides that should help confuse you a little more with your buying decision:

Toyota Rush:

Toyota’s collaboration with Kirloskar motors has brought quite the reputation to the Indian Automobile market. With a wide range of vehicles, the company is now planning to introduce a new model named Toyota Rush. The Rush looks like a robust sports utility vehicle that is expected to be launched sometime in 2016. This car is already available in Malaysia.

Exteriors:

The sporty looking Rush is quite the compact that you’ll ever need. This vehicle certainly reminds us about the Fortuner that is running quite successfully in India. The front façade with a perforated radiator grille along with the logo as well as a chrome strip adds to the style. This vehicle will be a compressed version of the Fortuner.

Toyota Rush

Interiors:

The interiors of the Rush will be quite spacious and plush with 2 tone color scheme.  That said, this vehicle is most likely to feature a 2-DIN infotainment system along with high quality speakers.

Engine:

The Toyota Rush might come with a 1.5 litre petrol power train with 1495 cc capacity. This 4 cylinder enabled car will feature 16 valves. This mill is tuned to return a decent mileage along with an impressive top speed. Moreover, it also has the ability to churn out a maximum power of 107.5bhp in combination with torque output of 141Nm, which is also good.

Further info:

The Toyota Rush might carry a price ranging from 8 lakh to 12 lakh. This car will compete with Maruti Brezza, Hyundai Creta, Ford Eco sport and Renault Duster.

 

 

RENAULT LAGUNA:

The French automobile giant, Renault, has launched plenty of cars in India.  The latest offering is the Renault Laguna which will hit the Indian roads probably during the end of 2016.

Exteriors:

The front look of the Renault Laguna looks similar to the Renault Fluence. Although the Fluence did not do too well in India, Renault has hopes with the Laguna. The car has am elegant looking design with the company’s logo placed between the headlamps. The C-segment sedan should amaze various corporate customers due to its sophisticated looks.

Renault Laguna

Interiors:

In terms of interiors, the Renault Laguna should carry pretty much the same offerings as the Fluence, only a bit more elaborate. The car will have an excellent set of speakers, great infotainment system and plush interiors.

Renault Laguna

Engine:

The same K9K engine powering the Duster and Captur will also power the Laguna in its higher state of tune. The 1,461cc four-cylinder engine develops 109bhp at 4,000rpm and 240Nm of torque, mated to six-speed manual transmission. A 1.2-litre M9R petrol engine is available in the international Laguna, which is not expected in India. The car will bear a new name when launched in India.

The car comes with disc brakes front and rear, making it easy and convenient to handle. This convenience is further enhanced by the power steering. The Laguna is capable of an impressive top speed of 210 kmph. It has a turning radius of 11m. The average mileage of the car is not known but it is expected to be quite competitive. This is one of the first cars to be given a five star safety rating by the European NCAP.

Further Info:

The Laguna is expected to be priced between Rs 18 to 25 lakhs. It is a car of the D+ segment which will be in direct competition with Honda Accord, Skoda Superb and the Volkswagen Passat. The Renault Laguna in India is expected to be available in two variations. One is the Renault Laguna Expression 1.4 and the Renault Laguna Dynamique 1.4.

 

 

 NISSAN GT-R:

This vehicle you just can’t miss because this is the Porsche Killer. The GT-R, ecer since its launch has evolved to become one of the fastest and yet highly practical supercars of all time. What’s even more impressive is the fact that developments on this all-wheel drive coupe has never really slowed down, with Nissan introducing yearly updates with more power and upgraded mechanicals. Now, Nissan is finally planning to bring the GT-R to India by the end of this year to take on the mighty Porsche 911 Turbo.

Exteriors:

Speed is the only thing that you can expect out of the GT-R and so, the design is kept as aerodynamic as possible. While the uninspiring look of the front-end isn’t the most impressive piece of design in the supercar world, the GT-R makes up for it with its jet fighter-style canopy, striking multi spoke alloys and that massive rear wing. Lastly, the signature Skyline look at the rear is courtesy the traditional four-ring taillights, while air flow below the vehicle is handled by the carbon fibre underbody diffuser.

Nissan GTR

Interiors:

This should come as no surprise because the GT-R’s interior is nothing less than a tech-fest. It has plenty of computers and high-tech sensors that monitor even the tiniest of movements of this car. The GT-R may be termed as a four-seater but it essentially features a 2+2 configuration.

Nissan GT-R

 Engine:

The GT-R is powered by a 3.8-litre V6 engine. Now it may not sound like a lot in supercar space, however, Nissan has backed this highly advanced engine with two turbochargers. The end result is 542bhp of power and 612Nm of torque. This massive powerful brute does 0-100 in less than 3.8 seconds.

Further more:

The GT-R is certainly a force not to be reckoned with. The price tag is quite steep. The car crosses the 1 crore rupee limit.

 

 

VOLKSWAGEN UP:

Volkswagen is planning to launch one more compact hatchback in the Indian car market that’s going to be named UP. This is expected to be the first ever smallest and cheapest vehicle against its competitors like Hyundai, Maruti, Chevrolet and Ford. The best part of this car is the vehicle comes in 3 different body styles namely; 2 door hatchback, 4-door hatchback and 4 door wagon versions.

Exteriors:

The vehicle looks quite captivating with a new radiator grille, attractive halogen lights and interesting bonnet. The vehicle is overall an attractive looking package.

Volkswagen UP

Interiors:

The interiors of the Volkswagen UP has dual tone color scheme. The cabin has an advanced instrument panel that displays the aspects like vehicle’s speed, a digital tachometer, fuel level and provides several warning notifications for keeping the driver updated. It also has a leather wrapped steering wheel is mounted with audio and call control switches for additional comfort. Its center fascia has a high gloss black finish and is integrated with a proficient AC unit along with a lot of storage spaces.

Volkswagen UP

 Engine:

As per the speculations, the upcoming Volkswagen UP model series is going to be fitted with a 1.0-litre, petrol engine, which displaces 999cc. It is integrated with three cylinders and twelve valves using a double overhead camshaft based valve configuration. This turbocharged power plant has the ability of churning out a maximum power output of 58bhp at 5000-6000rpm in combination with a peak torque output of 95Nm in the range of 3000 to 4300rpm.

Further more:

The Volkswagen UP is expected to bag a price tag starting from Rs. 3.5  lakhs.

 

 

Honda Vezel:

Japanese carmaker Honda is planning to introduce its all-new compact SUV named Vezek in India. This car made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Exteriors:

Looks have certainly not been compromised on. This good looking compact SUV has sloping lines along its well planned C pillars and has sharp exteriors curves. This vehicle has a brilliant crossover appearance.

Interiors:

What’s good on the outside is sure to be brilliant inside. Honda is sure to add a couple of interesting goodies that will entertain the passengers. The cabin space will also be quite commodious as per its looks. The speakers and the infotainment system will also be built quite brilliantly.

Engine:
Honda will offer the all new Vezel in 1.5-litre petrol and 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engines with two-wheel drive (2WD) option. In Japan, the Mini SUV is available with only petrol engines. The 1.5-litre, four cylinder petrol unit produces a peak power of 132bhp and a torque of 155Nm. There’s one more electric motor version, but with the same 1.5-litre petrol engine. Both the petrol mills are made available with a CVT or seven speed CVT in two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) configuration.

Furthermore:

The Vezel will compete against competitors like Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster and will carry a price tag ranging from Rs. 9 lakhs to Rs. 13 lakhs. It is expected to be launched somewhere in November 2016.

Tata Megapixel vs Chevrolet beat Electric

Tata motors have created  much hype with its upcoming electric car that’s going to be named Mega Pixel. This vehicle has (as sources suggest) been specifically designed to cater to the European markets. Bringing quite the futuristic look and feel to the market, this car is the upgraded version of the small car Pixel that is based on Tata Nano.

On on the other side of the competition, presenting the Electrically charged Chevrolet Beat. The beat has been quite a successfully running hatchback car in the Indian hatch segment. The Beat diesel version was the most sought after vehicle that created quite the buzz. With eager anticipation, here is a small review on the upcoming Beat Electric version.

 

Exteriors:

A complete in house house project from Tata motors that adds quite the European design to make it look pretty futuristic. This car was a debutant at the wood festival of speed in UK. The Megapixel surely knows how to impress. This car looks more like a production ready car rather than a concept. The practical designing of this compact hatch is really commendable. The car doesn’t features scissor doors similar to its younger sibling pixel. Instead, it comes with double sliding doors which make it easy for you to go in/out of the car and they look quite attractive also. The single piece face of Megapixel features angular headlights on both sides which gel well with the black colored radiator grille of this car.

The small bonnet of this car leads to its long and wide front windshield which makes it look extremely aerodynamic. The black colored air dam of Megapixel makes it look like a typical Tata car. The bulgy wheel arches and 16 inches alloy wheels add muscularity to Megapixel. The noticeable running lines on its doors nicely merges into the boot of this car. The tall look at the back adds visual bulk to this car. The tall positioned LED tail lights of Megapixel look sporty with its C-pillar. The rear glass eats up most of the space at the back and looks nice with its bulky rear bumper which features black colored air inlets. Overall, it is just the perfect blend of style and sophistication.

Tata Megapixel

General Motors on the other side of the wheel has taken a crack at revving fading customer interest in the Beat. The new Electric version is the essence of massive elegance that made this car so popular. The car features elegant bumpe s, new mirrors, a sporty looking rear spoiler alongside its LED inserts. It’s re-profiled head and tail-lights are quite prominent too. The slim seats give you optimum support and space. Megapixel is perfect for four adults. The double sliding doors not only give you easy access to this car but also improve the space inside. The panoramic roof also enlightens the mood inside and makes it look premium.

The dual tone dashboard of Megapixel will feature a big touch screen at its centre with AC vents on both sides. The instrument console and glove box will also be fitted in this dashboard. Tata may offer this car with door pockets, cubby holes and its spacious floor can also be used as a storage space. The bonnet of Megapixel is likely to act as the boot of this car similar to its younger siblings.

Chevrolet Beat Electric

 

Interiors:

Tata megapixel comes with a futuristic design. Tata Megapixel is likely to get dual tone interiors. The positioning of everything looks quite perfect and the cabin feels quite up-market. The floor and cabin feels quite spacious. The lack of B-pillar is the biggest reason which gives you more space inside this car. The slim seats give you optimum support and space. Megapixel is perfect for four adults. The double sliding doors not only give you easy access to this car but also improve the space inside. The panoramic roof also enlightens the mood inside and makes it look premium. The dual tone dashboard of Megapixel will feature a big touch screen at its centre with AC vents on both sides. The instrument console and glove box will also be fitted in this dashboard. Tata may offer this car with door pockets, cubby holes and its spacious floor can also be used as a storage space. The bonnet of Megapixel is likely to act as the boot of this car similar to its younger siblings.

Tata Megapixel

 

The Chevrolet Beat electric’s cabin looks pretty mum similar to the existing Beat models. With uniquely styled instrument cluster that’s made up of an analog speedometer and a digital pod for the tachometer that resembles a mid-’90s electronic Casio organiser and may not appeal to everyone. The front seats lack a bit of thigh support, but leg room is adequate. From the driver’s seat, the slightly high cowl and smallish rear windscreen hamper visibility, especially for new drivers. The equipment list is adequate. The vehicle sports features like airbags on both the sides, ABS, CD plays along with USH steering mounted audio controls as well as alloy wheels and power windows.

Chevrolet Beat Electric

 

Engine and Gearbox:
Technically, Megapixel is a futuristic and advanced car. Megapixel gets four electric motors, one on each wheel. These are lithium Ion Phosphate 13KWh batteries with induction charging system. They take 30minutes to get charge up to 80%. Megapixel is also equipped with a single cylinder 325cc single cylinder petrol engine. This 4-stroke engine is low on CO2 emission and generates a peak power of 30bhp. This engine is mated with an automatic transmission.

The Electric Beat on the other hand is supposedly powered by a Lithium powered battery with a maximum power of 20 kWh. This vehicle comes with a 5 speed manual transmission.

Suspension and Brakes:
Megapixel is likely to share its suspension system with its younger sibling, Pixel. It will feature McPherson struts at its front with independent coil spring suspension system at the back. The car might feature ventilated discs at its front or it may debut with drum brakes of 180mm on its all wheels. ABS with EBD and brake assist will further help you to stop this car accurately.

The Beat Electric on the flipside is likely to carry McPherson Strut brakes along with Compound Link Type Suspension.

Price:

The Megapixel is likely to carry a price gage between Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 6 Lakhs.

The Beat Electric is expected to be around the Rs. 6 lakh ball park.

Bottom Line: 

It is really difficult to decide which car is better than the other. Based on the design, the Mega pixel seems to hold more style. The Beat Electric on the other hand holds promise thanks to its predecessor models.

Fiat Family: Upcoming Fiat cars in India

Here are a couple of Fiat cars that are going to say hello to Indian roads…

Fiat Tipo:

Fiat India is looking to reinstate the existing Linea Sedan by remodeling it and introducing a new and attractive machine named Tipo or Egea. This new machine is going to be launched as a C-Segment sedan that was showcased as the Aegea Concept car. The production version of this car is going to be launched in 2016 by November. Here are some more details that should help you decide better:

Fiat Tipo

Exteriors:

Featuring a classy looking front façade, the Tipo features a dominative and angry looking muzzle grille that sports Fiat Insignia look in the middle and comes with angled headlamps. The side profile of this vehicle adds up similar Fiat sedan lines because of the strong shoulder lines. The rear side features elegantly designed tail lamps as well as a chrome strip above the number plate.  As far as the dimensions go, the Tipo will measure 4500mm in length, 1780mm in width and 1480mm in height.

Interiors:

The interiors look quite attractive. It features an instrument cluster, Uconnect infotainment system with 5-inch touchscreen display and automatic climate control. Tipo gets a sporty look, which will feature dual tone interiors as well as sporty seats. The new Tipo will be incorporated with features such as AUX and USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and a navigation system along with a reversing camera. With the wheelbase of 2640mm, Tipo will offers quite a spacious cabin with ample of sitting and storage space.

Engine:
Under the hood, Fiat Tipo sedan is likely to be offered in both petrol and diesel engine options for the Indian market. The 1.4-litre TJet petrol and 1.5-litre MultiJet diesel engines will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission gearbox and 6-speed automatic gearbox for the automatic variant. However, globally Fiat Tipo is offered in four engine options – 1.4L and 1.6L petrol engine, 1.3L and 1.6L diesel engine.

Further details:

The new Tipo sedan is likely to be priced in the range of INR 8 lakh to INR 11 lakh for the Indian market and will compete against the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City, Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai Verna, Nissan Sunny, Skoda Rapid and Renault Scala.

 

 

Fiat Viaggio:

Seen at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show, the Fiat Viaggio will be positioned in the executive sedan segment. Here are further details on the Viaggio:

Fiat Viaggio

Viaggio Interiors and Exterior looks:

The Viaggio is essentially a Fiat-badged Dart, except for few nips and tucks here and there. For instance, the Viaggio sports redesigned front and rear bumpers, taillights, badges and trunk lids. Fiat also promises that the Viaggio has the handling dynamics to match its Italian styling. That said, the interiors are going to be just as promising as the interiors.

Engine:

Under the hood, expect to see a 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol unit that is rated at 120PS and 150PS. A diesel powerplant could also be thrown in the mix. The engines could come mated to either a 5-Speed manual gearbox or a 6-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).

Further Details:

The Viaggio is expected to launch in India by the end of 2016. Expect the price of this vehicle ranging from 8-12 lakh.

 

 

Fiat Panda:

With Punto and Linea mulling to expand its portfolio with more products. The Fiat Panda, which has been the best-selling supermini in the European markets is one such product that the Italian automaker could introduce in the Indian market very soon. However, supermini is a segment that is not very popular in the country.

That said, the Fiat Panda, which is now entering its third-generation has been modified to become to bigger, roomier and safer, making it a more practical and viable product for Indian customers.

Fiat Panda

Exteriors:

Dimensional, the new Panda is 66mm wider that the out-going model, which means that the hatchback can easily accommodate up to 3 passengers on the rear bench.
Interiors:

In terms of pricing, the Fiat Panda is most likely going to feature the same design language as the Fiat Punto.

Engine:
Under the hood, expect to see a 1.2-litre petrol engine and a 1.3-litre Multi-jet diesel engine.

Further Details:

In the international markets, the Fiat Panda is offered in three trim levels: Pop, Easy and Lounge. If the Panda arrives in India, it will go head to head with the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Brio, etc.

Bottom Line:

Fiat is really working on increasing its competency and by the looks of it, the company might progress with the upcoming launches.

Top 5 Hybrid/Electric Cars in India

India is heading on to take upon the electric and hybrid car segment. The catch is that the cars are not only pricey but their maintenance is expensive too. And when it comes to alternate fuels, we have relied more on LPG and CNG instead of electric energy. That has however not dampened the car manufacturers’ hopes in India as they have gone ahead and introduced clean and green vehicles. Not all the cars are expensive, some of them might befriend your price while some might seem shockingly expensive. Either ways, if you’re planning on buying a hybrid, you’d not be disappointed considering the focus some manufacturers are paying towards the price. Here is a list entailing 5 of the most popular hybrids/electric cars available in India:

5. Mahindra e2o:

Portrayed as a concept car back in the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, the e20 from Mahindra found its way to the Indian market. Manufactured at its facility in Bengaluru, the Mahindra e20 rolls out as the first all-electric in India. The e20 from Mahindra comes powered by a 48V maintenance-free Lithium-ion battery that helps churn out around 25 bhp and 53Nm of torque. Speed is out of the question on this car but if you’re willing to go slow and safe, this ride tops a speed of 81 km/hr. Though a full charge takes 5 hours, Mahindra also has Quick Charge that helps charge the car in just about an hour. Once fully charged, it can cover a distance of 120Km, which is sufficient for city travel. The interiors on the e20 get s a large touch-screen interface as well as a monochrome digital speed information pod. The price expectancy of this vehicle ranges from 4.79 lakhs to 5.34 lakhs.

4. Toyota Prius

India was first introduced to hybrids when Toyota launched the Prius in 2012. It can run on both, petrol and electricity, so the customers get the best of both worlds.

Fun fact: The Prius is the world’s first mass production hybrid car.

Powering the Prius is a 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE, 4-cylinder, inline, twin-cam petrol engine that puts out 97bhp and 142Nm of torque. It also gets a sealed Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) battery, which increases the total power output to 134bhp. The Prius gets 3 modes, namely, EV (Electric Vehicle), Eco, and Power.

As green as the Prius may sound, it does come along with a hefty price tag. There are 2 variants on offer in India – the Z5 and Z6 – and even in city conditions; combined fuel economy stands at 23.91Km/l. The price of the Prius ranges from 38.10 lakhs to 39.80 lakhs.

 

3. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has another green car up its sleeve – the Camry hybrid. However, if you think you’ve driven the Prius, and this one will be something similar, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Just like the standard Camry, this one gets Toyota’s DOHC VVT-i 2.5-litre petrol unit, but it’s tweaked to accommodate the electric motor. The output tally of the hybrid system stands at 202bhp; 158bhp from the petrol motor, and 44bhp from the electric motor. The power-split device helps deliver seamless power to the wheels, and also to the generator that keeps on charging the battery. The battery is nickel metal hydride, unlike the usual lithium-ion, and is placed under a plastic cover inside the boot.

There are three driving modes to choose from – EV, Eco and Normal. The e-CVT (electronically continuously variable transmission) takes a bit of time to push itself off the starting line, but eventually offers utter smoothness and refinement.

Toyota has generously provided features that make it an ideal chauffeur-driven car. The 3-zone climate control for the driver, front passenger, and rear passengers, cooled front seats, cruise control, powered rear seats that recline, and a rear armrest that houses the controls for the recline functions, all find their way inside the car.

Toyota claims that the Camry Hybrid delivers 19.6Km/l (ARAI figure), which is truly impressive for a car of this size. The Camry hybrid carries a price tag of Rs. 31.19 lakhs.

 

2. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Hybrid

Known commonly as the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz (Smart Hybrid Vehicle), the vehicle is priced in the range of Rs. 8.23 lakh – Rs. 10.17 lakh. Interestingly, the company the Ciaz’s old diesel range has been replaced by the SHVS-equipped variants.

The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS gets an integrated starter generator, a larger capacity battery, and start-stop technology that help the vehicle return better mileage. While the old Maruti Ciaz diesel had an ARAI certified mileage of 26.21Km/l, the Ciaz SHVS returns an outstanding 28.09Km/l. This effectively makes the Ciaz SHVS hybrid India’s most fuel-efficient car.

Incorporated with an ISG (Integrated Starter Generator), Suzuki’s new mild hybrid system – SHVS – offers engine power assistance using the motor, and thus achieves efficient power generation. With the help of ISG, the system also provides assistance to the engine start-stop technology that automatically stops the engine during traffic light, and starts when the clutch is released.

 

1. BMW i8

This beauty is just too good to be true. From the time when it was launched in India till date, the i8 holds its ground as one of the most thrilling car to be designed in a futuristic manner.

Under the hood, the i8 comes with a 1.5-litre, inline 3 petrol unit and a 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery. Power from the gasoline engine stands at 228bhp, while the electric motor punches out 129bhp, thus taking the combined tally to a massive 357bhp. In all-electric mode, the BMW i8 boasts of a top-speed of 120Km/h. In Sport mode, the i8 delivers a mid-range acceleration from 80 – 120Km/h in 2.6 seconds. The electronically controlled top-speed stands at 250Km/h.

BMW started the car’s deliveries in August, 2014, and had already managed to sell 1,741 units by December, 2014. Furthermore, the first batch of BMW i8 to arrive in India has already been sold. The car carries a whooping price tag of 2.29 crores.

Nissan Teatro for Dayz, or nightmare?

"Nissan Teatro"

It swings across once every two years or so but, the Tokyo Motor Show is one of the finest consortiums of carmakers from all across the world. This is a huge platform for all the companies to portray their best jaw dropping, eye gluing machines. In my opinion, Love at first sight really takes place here.

Japanese carmakers eagerly await such opportunities to show to the world that nobody designs cars better than they do. Hence, the carmakers often do their best to stand out amid the outlandish designs. Then again, there is a little chance of Nissan’s latest concept getting lost in the crowd for bizarre reasons. The company introduced a rather bizarre looking vehicle that can transform according to your whim,” says the company.

Also, it’s called “Teatro for Dayz.” So, yeah!

Teatro? Say What?

So named Teatro for Dayz, the Nissan vehicle is the “first car designed specifically for the generation known as ‘digital natives,’ or “share natives.”

It’s hard to stake a claim to the silliest appearing concept car at a show like the Tokyo Motor Show, But Nissan seems like it has the word Bizzare written all over. There are some cars with gaudy interiors with seats (even the steering wheel) spruced up with grass, leopard skin or even abstract patterns that seem just too much for your brain to take in. Then, there’s Teatro for Dayz, a free-spirited step-sister of Nissan’s serious, buttoned-down self-driving EV, and it’s Nissan’s hope that it’ll convince non-auto fans to, well, take an interest.

There’s so much fun to be had with a concept car with fancy looks. Nissan has proven that it has enjoyed this truism to the fullest with this car. This all-electric minivan has a little bit of normalcy; its suicide doors. This vehicle, just like the IDS concept is a vision of an autonomous, electric future, the Teatro for Dayz is one extreme way to connect your smart phone and your vehicle. Nissan calls is, “an innovative concept that signals a new direction in mobile technology.” It’s certainly a new direction in distracting the driver.

 

"Teatro for Dayz"
Image Source: www.littlegatepublishing.com

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says that the Teatro for Dayz was specially designed for “Share Natives”. Carlos Ghosn says that this generation of young Japanese people like the efficiency of an electric vehicle and the functionality of a Kei car. “These young people are now getting their drivers licenses,” he said. “They have never known a world without the Internet, email or social media. They are always connected and eager to share their experiences.” With a car like the TfD, they can gather in person and virtually in a car that’s a vehicle for self-expression and connecting with friends as much as it is for getting to the next hot spot in Harajuku.

 

On the Outside:

The LED screen in action is overwhelming. Yes, LED screen. Like I said, there is plenty of craziness with the Teatro.

 

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: www.autoblog.com

Designing a car to appeal to the generation we call ‘share natives’ required us to intentionally not use knowledge and tried-and-true approaches we had amassed,” Nissan’s executive design director Satoshi Tai said. “For example, through design we typically try to convey a sense of acceleration, power, or supreme quality. But these values do not resonate with share natives. If anything, such car traits just call to mind old-fashioned technology that bears little relevance to their lives.”

Share natives feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends,” agrees product planning general manager Hidemi Sasaki. “We can no longer attract their attention with the same old values.” The idea is that Teatro for Dayz can be a “clean canvas” for people to create and share their own designs.

The vehicle’s seats and steering wheel is made of LED screens. Pretty amazing right? This car also has LED screen as rear bumper that will display the vehicle’s status updates that show how crazy the driver can get with this car.

Inside:

The car’s interior is completely decked out in display surfaces.

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: hypebeast.com

The dashboard, seats, headrest-well, pretty much everything has display surfaces. Since conventional knobs and switches would limit display arrangement and expression, the change is pretty mind-boggling.

"Nissan Teatro"
Image Source: www.slashgear.com

The functionality works like air conditioning and audio is controlled by voice while important meters appear on the flat dashboard when the car is in drive mode. The exterior has LED panels that can display patterns or things like the car’s battery charge.

Bottom Line:

This concept is pretty futuristic. The certainty of this car working and being commercially produced is pretty doubtful. Let’s wait and watch what 2016 has in store for us. 🙂

 

Connecting customers and cars with APPS

The time for Digital revolution has taken a new turn.  Smart phones are gaining popularity and simultaneously smart cars are being developed. Car Manufacturers are finding newer and better ways of connecting with customers. People are gaining more credibility and finding easier ways of connecting with their favorite automobile brand. Here is an article that highlights on the apps launched by various automobile manufacturers that help them understand the customers better and provide them what they need:

These days, carmakers are loath to giving up their key information and entertainment links in their vehicles with hopes to turn dashboard technology into a reason for buying their vehicle and potentially to earn revenue by selling information and mobile connectivity. This makes car manufacturers spend big money working on their own systems even as they increasingly offer links to Apple or Google’s systems alongside their own.

Car Play:

Manufacturers like Honda and GM recently started installing CarPlay as an option in their new vehicles and both say the software is well received. The Android Auto is coming for new models.

Jay Guzowski, a senior product manager at American Honda, said the company can’t give up on its own system, called HondaLink. “Not everybody has an Apple or Android phone or they aren’t interested in using that environment,” .

Toyota Motor Corp is largely avoiding Silicon Valley’s tech giants and relies exclusively on their own systems to maintain the most direct link with customers. Toyota and others say Apple and Google systems aren’t the right fit for every buyer. Not everyone owns a smart phone capable of linking to CarPlay or Android Auto, and the third-party systems can’t be used in every market.

"Car Play Apple"
Image Source: www.redmondpie.com

In countries including China, the modified Android operating systems used in phones won’t work with Android Auto and Apple’s iPhone isn’t as widely used as it is in Europe and the U.S. In addition, the Apple and Android systems don’t typically link to the buttons on a car’s steering wheel, or function well in areas with poor mobile phone reception. The systems also don’t connect to the auto’s heating and air-conditioning.

Potentially handing troves of driver and driving-data to Apple or Google also presents red flags, and has ignited debate among auto executives.

We are competing for mind-share inside the vehicle,” said Don Butler, Ford Motor’s director of connected vehicles. The Dearborn, Mich., company first released its Sync system, which runs apps, sends texts and receives messages through voice activation, in its 2008 model year cars.

Maruti Care:

Maruti has also taken a stride towards customer service. The Maruti Care Service mobile app comes in handy no matter where the customer is. Some of the more interesting features with the Maruti Care app are:

"Maruti Care App"
Image Source: www.rushlane.com

Maruti Suzuki Connect:

–       Service Appointment enables you to book your car’s service appointment at any of the Maruti Dealer outlets with a simple touch.

–       Enables you locate a dealer workshop with the help of Google maps from your current location just by entering City/Workshop/Pin Code and also gets the address and contact information.

–       Checking service records and the history of your vehicle based on dealer workshop visits.

–       Keeping track of the cost of maintenance of the car on yearly basis for Scheduled / Unscheduled Services and even for Body Repairs.

–       Sharing your service experience to help improve services.

–       Getting an estimated cost of the next scheduled service and other demand jobs.

Maruti Assist:

–       Maximize car’s life through some intelligent driving and maintenance tips.

–       Helps you know live traffic conditions between your destination and location you’re headed to.

–       GPS Trip meter trips from one destination to another that can be recorded and saved for future references.

–       Makes when your car is due for next scheduled service and set reminder accordingly.

–       Saves GPS enabled location and images of your car while parking in vast crowded places and finds the route shown by the app.

My Maruti:

–       Enables you to fetch personal information as registered with Maruti Suzuki.

–       Fetches car’s information as registered with Maruti Suzuki. This can be modified from the nearest Maruti Dealer.

–       Saves personal and car documents like PAN card, Driving License, RC Book and also sets the date of expiry with reminder so that it can be renewed on time.

–       Sends all types of notifications like reminders for document renewal, service appointment date and time.

Maruti Suzuki:

–       Gets contact information of Maruti Suzuki Regional offices for any concern/feedback.

 

Honda Connect:

With plans of digitizing the vehicle experience in India, Honda Cars India has launched Honda Connect; a smartphone application bundled with a device that offers a variety of functions controllable through a smartphone. This app was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show and has a total of 21 functions that come in handy in day to day life.

"Honda app"
Image Source: www.honda.co.uk

Some of the features:
· Detailed trip analysis such as speed, duration with pit stops details
· Service alert with calendar function and spending
· Information about nearest petrol station and Honda service stations with in-app navigation system
· Impact alert with SOS feature to connect with Honda dealers and service stations
· Location sharing with family and friends
· Option to locate your Honda vehicle in a crowded area
· Notification alerts on your smartphone about your vehicle’s health
· Option to connect directly to a customer service executive.

Hope you are installing the apps in your mobile right now 😉

BlackBerry Joins Self-Driving Car

"Blackberry"

Blackberry Ltd., a smart phone manufacturer is recognized worldwide thanks to the introduction of its famous Blackberry messenger app. This was one of the reasons for the downfall of the company. The company is strategizing on its comeback owing to the downfall of its share prices. With the announce of its plan for building an autonomous car software jumping into a race with the likes of Apple Inc., Google and Tesla motors Inc to capture a piece of the ballooning industry.

"Blackberry"
Image Source: www.themalaymailonline.com

Google’s self-driving car was the stepping-stone for the inception of this idea to take flight. The company’s QNX software division takes care of the newly formed vehicle division. The company’s QNX software division showed off demo cars that can scan for obstacles, keep from straying from a highway lane and communicate wirelessly with nearby vehicles to avoid accidents, using tools developed by other software and hardware companies on the QNX operating system.

QNX has already been used by plenty of automakers like Ford Motor Co. to build in-car entertainment systems. Blackberry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, wants to extend that model to self-driving car technology by providing a central platform that other companies can use to build their own features.

We are not doing the algorithms that make decisions on driving,” Derek Kuhn, senior vice president of Internet of Things at BlackBerry, said in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “We’re providing the building blocks on which the electronics and automotive companies can make those decisions.”

The developing technology may offer an alternative for carmakers that are considering building their own self-driving software or partnering with Apple and Google. Still, those companies have been pouring resources into autonomous cars. Google’s vehicles have driven more than two million miles on their own and Tesla sells some cars pre-loaded with the ability to stay in a certain lane on their own. The market is still wide open and BlackBerry shouldn’t be counted out, according to Jeremy Carlson, an automotive technology analyst at IHS. There are a lot of intermediate steps that need to happen before fully autonomous cars hit the roads, he said.

There’s plenty of opportunity for everyone,” Carlson said.

The software for in-car navigation and entertainment systems is used in more than 60 million vehicles, including as part of Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Apple and Google also have developed their own systems. The foothold means that the company has solid relationships with car manufacturers that it can build on to help them develop self-driving vehicles, Carlson said. BlackBerry announced its plans to try to gain a piece of the autonomous car market at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a technology industry gathering that has morphed into the venue for auto companies to introduce their newest innovations.

"QNX"
Image Source: autstory.com

Handing over your driving duties to a software-driven vehicle is a pretty futuristic idea. If the latest surveys are any indication, the market for self-driving (aka autonomous) vehicles is getting ready to explode — and smart people are paying close attention.

Consumers are looking on with great interest and with a lot of questions. Many people are worried about the safety of riding in a car driven by sensors and software, but accident data from Google’s self-driving car project indicates that all of the self-driving cars’ accidents to date were caused by human drivers.

Experts believe that self-driving cars are usually safer than error-prone human drivers, who are responsible for 90% of accidents. They also say autonomous vehicles can reduce traffic jams and increase highway capacity because sensors allow the vehicles to drive closer together.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS):

ADAS has primed the pump for even more auto automation. Safety features, such as automated emergency braking, automated lighting and adaptive cruise control, and convenience features that connect the car to your smart phone for navigation, communication or entertainment, are all but expected by today’s auto buyers.

Software will drive most of the innovation around autonomous vehicles, and an upcoming webinar with Kerry Johnson, Product Manager for QNX Software Systems, will talk about writing software for self-driving vehicles. Specifically, he and Kris Keach, Contributing Editor for Tech Online, will explore:

– The emergence of high performance embedded system on chips (SoCs) targeting ADAS and autonomous vehicle applications.

– The impact of increasing system integration and autonomous technology on embedded software.

– The need for safety standards such as IS 26262, which specifies the functional safety of electrical and electronic systems in road vehicles.

– The emergence of pre-certified products as part of the solution to address safety challenges.

– The role of a software platform to support evolution from ADAS to autonomous driving.

 

"Blackberry QNX"
Image Source: pockethacks.com

Bottom Line:

If this technology hits it off, Blackberry is going to regain its popularity and get more credibility that it was losing. This could be quite revolutionary for the company and would certainly give Google a run for its miles.

Toyota Mirai: Hydrogen Powered

"Toyota Mirai"

Toyota has introduced the competition busting Prius back in 1997 and this vehicle was certainly a game changer for the company. This commercially successful gasoline-electric hybrid car had revolutionized the buying behavior of buyers. The company is trying to repeat history with a technology that seems straight out of science fiction. Hydrogen-powered cars are real.

Toyota is launching a hydrogen-powered car in the United States. There will only be a few hundred, and they are certainly not going to befriend the pockets. The company has named this car “Mirai”. Officials at Toyota chose to call this car 2015 FC.

"Toyota Mirai"
Image Source: http://www.toyota-global.com/

Fuel-cell cars use a “stack” of cells that electro-chemically combine hydrogen with oxygen to generate electricity that helps propel the car. Their only emission, bar heat, is water vapor, they can run five times longer than battery electric cars, and it takes just minutes to fill the tank with hydrogen — far quicker than even the most rapid charger can recharge a battery electric car. The 2015 launch culminates a 20-year zig-zag quest during which Toyota first struggled to get the technology to work and then strained to lower manufacturing costs enough to permit realistic pricing. It has also been playing catch-up to rival Honda Motor Co, which has set the early pace with its FCX Clarity, a sleek, purpose-built hydrogen car.

The cost-cutting continues, though Toyota thinks it has cracked the code with incremental design improvements, such as using wider, flatter “fettuccine-style” copper in coils that make the motor more powerful, and thus smaller and cheaper. “In time, the fuel cell vehicle will become mainstream. We wanted to take the first step,” said Mitsuhisa Kato, a Toyota executive vice president, at the vehicle’s launch Tuesday. “We want to be at the leading edge.” “With the 2015 FC car we think we’ve achieved a degree of dominance over our rivals,” Satoshi Ogiso, a Toyota managing director, said in a recent interview at the group’s global headquarters. “With the car, we make a first giant step” toward making fuel-cell vehicles practical for everyday use.

"Toyota Mirai"
Image Source: http://www.toyota-global.com

Executives and engineers at Toyota are willing to sell the Mirai at a loss for a long while to popularize the new technology. The company had adapted the same strategy with the Prius that happens to account for 14% of Toyota’s annual sales, excluding group of companies, of a boastful 9 million odd vehicles.   Let’s first understand the technology involved behind a fuel cell vehicle: Most of us know that the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen can generate fuel cell that would generate electricity that is sufficient enough to power the motor of the Mirai. As a substitute to gasoline, the motor is fuelled by hydrogen that is an environment-friendly energy source that can be produced with the help of numerous raw materials. Toyota is putting in its to create sustainable mobility a reality with hydrogen that started back in 1992. In fact, this concept started even before the launch of Prius. The year was 2002 and Toyota had begun selling the world’s first fuel cell vehicle called “Toyota FCHV” in Japan and U.S. Toyota has also made use of the same technology in developing fuel cell vehicles.

"Toyota Mirai"
Image Source: http://www.toyota-global.com

 

Infrastructure challenge: The problem lies in the limited number of hydrogen fuel stations in the U.S and as with battery electric cars, the infrastructure required is limited to the point where it costs big dollars to build it. On an average, the cost of building a fuel station would be around $ 2 million for a single hydrogen fuel station in the U.S.

"Toyota Mirai"
Image Source: www.forbes.com

Safety: Safety also happens to be a major concern. Hydrogen is highly flammable and requires to be handled with utmost caution. The Toyota launch pits fuel-cell technology against battery electric in a race to capture the hearts and wallets of drivers looking for engines that are easier on the environment. Automakers are under pressure to invest in so-called “zero-emission” cars as tougher rules globally demand lower harmful emissions and better fuel economy.

If proper measures are taken, the safety parameters can be examined closely to attain results. Japan currently operated 3 hydrogen fuelling stations. Japanese government, to support the commercialization of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles have set a goal to build close to 100 hydrogen fuel stations by march 2016. California has 10 hydrogen stations and the government has allotted around $ 47 million for 28 additional stations. Hence, utmost safety is taken for their upkeep.

 

Mirai Specs:

The Mirai uses Toyota’s Fuel Cell System (TFCS) that features both fuel cell technology and hybrid technology. This includes Toyota-developed components that include the fuel cell (FC) stack, FC boost converter and high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The TFCS are energy-efficient and emits no CO2 while the vehicle is running.

"Toyota Mirai"
Image Source: ssl.toyota.com

The 2016 Mirai has a range of 502 km on a full tank and a combined city & highway fuel economy rating of 66 miles per gallon or approximately 3.6 Liters per 100 kms.

"Toyota Mirai"
Image Source: www.youtube.com

 

Costs: The sporty-looking, four-door Toyota Mirai is getting set to make the roads greener. But they will not come cheap. The Mirai will retail for 6.7 million yen of $ 57,600 before taxes. Toyota Motor Corp hopes to sell 400 in Japan and 300 in the rest of the world in the first year.