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Volkswagen to introduce five new electric models

The carmaker is aiming for a leadership position in the EV market and plans to sell a million electric cars by 2025.

Volkswagen looks all set to shift its attention to electric vehicles as it plans to roll out as many as five battery-powered models in the coming years. Its I.D concept was revealed in the 2016 Paris Motor Show but the production version is likely to be launched in 2020. The electric cars will be based on the company's new MEB platform.

The I.D concept, nicknamed e-Golf, is equipped with a 125kW electric motor and will be able to accelerate from 0-100kph in less than 8.0sec. It is likely to have a range of 400-600km.

The e-Golf is expected to be followed by the I.D Cross. Its concept was previewed at the Shanghai motor show this year and had two electric motors powered by a 83kWh lithium-ion battery. The all-wheel-drive concept had a combined output of 225kW and a range up to 500km.

The next in line are the I.D. AEROe sedan and the I.D. Lounge crossover. Volkswagen is also planning to bring in a production version of its I.D Buzz concept, which is powered by dual electric motors with a combined output of 275kW and a 0-100kph time of just 5.0sec.

VW has vowed to deliver its electric-powered cars for prices similar to combustion engine cars. At a time when the global market for EVs is expected to grow, VW is preparing itself to lock horns with the likes of Tesla's Model 3 and GM's Chevrolet Bolt. The company plans to sell a million electric cars by 2025.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jun 26, 2017
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Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro launched in Europe

More dirt-riding-equipped variant of the 1200 Enduro has been designed for riders eager to explore off-road.

The Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro is already an extremely capable adventure touring motorcycle that switches the focus of the standard 1200 from road to off-road. But facing stiff competition from the likes of the extremely off-road oriented BMW R1200 GS Rallye, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has just unveiled a ‘Pro’-suffixed version of the Multistrada 1200 Enduro that focuses even more on the rough stuff.

So how does the Pro model differentiate itself? Equipment wise, it now sports steel tank protectors made by Touratech as standard that also feature auxiliary LED lights on either side. These protectors are designed to keep the radiator and engine from taking damage in case the bike takes a fall. It also gets a shorter screen which has been designed to give a clearer view over the bike when riding by standing on the foot pegs. There’s a high-performance titanium Termignoni exhaust included with the bike. And while it does sport the same 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wire-spoke wheels, they come shod with the more dirt-oriented Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres.

There are some visual differences as well. The rear sub-frame, as well as the alternator and clutch cover, now get a black colour scheme. The bike itself comes in a unique sand colour which extends over the middle of the seats, giving them a two-tone theme that matches the rest of the bodywork.

All other aspects of the motorcycle are unchanged from the regular Multistrada 1200 Enduro. It retains the 1,198cc L-twin Testastretta DVT motor with variable valve timing technology. This motor makes 152hp of power and 128Nm of torque, and thanks to a ride-by-wire throttle, it has four riding modes – Enduro, Touring, Sport and Urban – which change the engine’s power delivery characteristics.

It still retains the Multistrada’s IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) which reads the bike’s attitude in real time and feeds that information to the traction control, cornering ABS, cornering lights, wheelie control and the semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension. And speaking of suspension, there is 200mm of travel at both ends.

This Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro is set to go on sale in the UK in July at a price of GBP 18,995 (approx. Rs 15.56 lakh). But if this bike were to come to India, and we don’t see why it shouldn’t, expect it to be priced around Rs 20 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi, post-GST) – considering that the pre-GST ex-showroom price of the regular Multistrada 1200 Enduro is already at Rs 17.44 lakh.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jun 26, 2017
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Second Hyundai N Performance model reveal in 2018

The all-new N model could be based on the Hyundai RN30 concept.

Hyundai has announced that it is all set to introduce the second Hyundai N Performance model in 2018, following the debut of the i30N later this year. The news has been confirmed by Albert Biermann, head of the firm's vehicle testing and high-performance development.

No details have been released, but Hyundai previously hinted at the prospect of a four-wheel-drive Ford Focus RS rival with its 380hp, RN30 concept of 2016.

Joonhong Park, the head of Hyundai's high-performance vehicle development centre, explained that N would only cherry-pick the most appropriate models from the Hyundai range. "There is no plan to have an N model for every Hyundai," he said, [although] we have a road map for the next few years to come."

The division is not currently planning on integrating its hybrid, full electric and fuel-cell powertrain technologies into a performance mode with Park commenting, "Right now, there's no plan to bring that tech to N." He however said the brand was open to a shift if the market trend demanded it.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jun 24, 2017
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Triumph Tiger Explorer, Speed Triple India launch soon

Hot on the heels of the Street Triple S, the updated Tiger Explorer family might land in India as early as July 2017, with the Speed Triple in tow.

In 2016, Triumph Motorcycles updated its larger-capacity adventurer tourer, the Tiger Explorer, with a whole host of new features, not the least among which was converting the single model into a range encompassing six variants. Three of these variants were focussed on road riding while the rest three were off-road oriented. The big news now is that this updated Tiger Explorer range will come to India really soon. And by soon, we mean, it could be as early as next month.

The new Explorer range really bumps up its game, which should help it keep up to speed with its competitors such as the BMW R1200 GS and the Ducati Multistrada 1200. The basic 1,215cc inline-three-cylinder maintains its basic configuration similar to the older bike, but thanks to some internal tweaking, makes a little more power and torque – 139hp and 123Nm – respectively. It still retains a six-speed gearbox though and features a shaft drive to send power to the rear wheel.

However, there is a whole new set of electronics based around a 6-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), not on the base XR and XC though, which feeds the cornering ABS and multi-level traction control. And, thanks to the ride-by-wire throttle, the base XR and XC models get two riding modes – Road and Rain – while the top-spec XRa and XCa get five – Road, Rain, Off-road, Sport and Rider!

The chassis has seen a number of improvements as well, with the suspension having switched over from Kayaba forks and monoshock to more capable, semi-active units from WP (although the base XR and XC get manually-adjustable WP suspension). Brakes, a weak point of the older Explorer, have been addressed too. The rear brake, a 282mm, 2-pot Nissin unit, remains unchanged but the twin 305mm discs at the front get radially-mounted 4-pot Brembo monobloc calipers.

Other areas of improvement have been a new instrument cluster along with new switchgear, heated grips and seat, cruise control, a hill-hold system (only on the top spec XRa and XCa), self-cancelling indicators as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system.

We believe Triumph will adopt a similar strategy of rolling out the multiple variants of the Tiger Explorer into India that it has adopted for the smaller Tiger 800s. So, first we’re likely to see the base XR and XC models launch, followed by the more capable XRx and XCx, with finally the top-spec XRa and XCa coming in last. However, Triumph has said that they’re looking at locally assembling 90 percent of the models they sell in India by the end of this year. It’s possible that the Tiger Explorer range might not make the cut when it comes to CKD operations and might be a direct import. In that case, it would even be possible to launch all variants in India at the same time.

In Triumph’s home country, the UK, the Tiger Explorer range is priced slightly lower than the BMW R1200 GS range and a bit more than the Ducati Multistrada 1200 series. In India, the Ducatis cost a lot less compared to the BMWs because of differences in where the bikes get imported from and the accompanying duties. So, prices for the new Explorers could vary depending on how Triumph plans to source them for India.

Speed Triple and beyond

It’s not just the Tiger Explorer range that we have to look forward to this year from the British marque. Speaking to Autocar India at the recent launch of the Street Triple 765 S, Vimal Sumbly, MD of Triumph India, said 2017 would be the year for roadsters from the company. This is not only a clear nod to the top-spec variant of the Street Triple 765, the RS, coming to India shortly, but hints at the larger-engined and recently-updated Speed Triple range landing here in the near future.

Near the end of 2015, Triumph took the wraps off an updated version of its big-boy roadster, the Speed Triple. This new bike was powered by essentially the same 1050cc, inline-three-cylinder motor as the outgoing model. But with some internal updates such as a new cylinder head and new pistons, it now produces 140hp of peak power and 112Nm of peak torque, up by 13hp/7Nm. Other mechanical additions have been a slip-assist clutch and a ride-by-wire throttle, of which the latter has allowed for five different ride modes. The bike does have a switchable traction control system, though it remains a bit more rudimentary compared to some of the more modern systems.

This new Speed Triple is still a little on the portlier side, with a dry weight of 192kg, making it nearly 30kg heavier than the Street Triple 765. So, while it’s not going to set any lap records, it doesn’t shy away from its hooligan reputation, which it has crafted over the years. Suspension is an all-Showa fully-adjustable affair (for the base Speed Triple S) with upside down forks at the front and a monoshock at the back. Braking at the front comes from two 320mm rotors, clamped on by Brembo radially-mounted 4-piston monobloc calipers, while there’s a single, 255mm disc with a Nissin 2-piston caliper at the back. Switchable ABS is offered as standard.

The previous-generation Speed Triple, which was part of the company’s original line-up for India, but has since been discontinued, came here as a CKD and was last priced at Rs 11.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). We expect that the new Speed Triple will cost roughly in the same ballpark, although you can expect to pay more for the Speed Triple R which gets lots of carbon-fibre bits and more capable, fully adjustable Ohlins suspension.

Triumph India's Sumbly added that going forward Triumph was also looking at closing the gap between models launched in the UK and India. This means that the rumoured, upcoming semi-faired touring version of the Street Triple 765 would be on the cards for India as soon as it goes on sale in the UK – sometime early next year, we think!

Courtesy : Autocar

Jun 24, 2017
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Google set to retire the Firefly

The face of Google's self-driving technology to be replaced by more advanced Chrysler Pacifica minivans

The Firefly, Google's autonomous driving prototype, seems to have reached the end of its journey with Google all set to retire the model to put more emphasis on Chrysler Pacifica minivans instead.

The news has already been confirmed by Waymo lead systems engineer Jaime Waydo and lead industrial designer YooJung Ahn. Waymo believes that this move will increase access to the autonomous driving technology for more people in lesser time. In a statement released by Waymo, it has been said, "By focusing on mass-produced vehicles like the Pacifica minivan, we'll be able to bring fully self-driving technology to more people, more quickly."

The Chrysler Pacifica minivans are equipped with newer sensors and technology that will enable them to see a greater distance with increased clarity. Besides being more comfortable to travel in, the minivans are not limited to a meagre 40km/h speed like the Firefly. The minivans are being developed in a manner that will allow them to be commercially mass-produced very soon by major carmakers.

Despite the success of the Firefly as the pilot project for its autonomous driving technology, it is understood Google hadn't intended to mass produce the model. It was developed primarily as a research vehicle that successfully made 'self-driving' a reality for the first time.

Courtesy : Autocar

Jun 19, 2017
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