Hydrogen-powered truck set for launch in Australia

Australian hydrogen vehicle manufacturer H2X will unveil the Warrego, a fuel cell electric hybrid pickup truck, in November.

By  BELLA PEACOCK

H2X Global plans to launch its new Warrego pickup truck in Australia’s Gold Coast region, and is already taking orders for the vehicle.

The company says the vehicle features a 200 kW motor system, 66 kW and optional 90 kW fuel cell systems, and 60 kW to 100 kW energy storage systems between its battery and super capacitor units. The Warrego has a 500 km driving range and a refueling time of between three and five minutes. 

With its hybrid system, H2X says the vehicle can on pure hydrogen, “drastically” reducing refueling time, while increasing driving range and hydrogen efficiency.

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Mazda Is Working on a New Hydrogen Rotary Engine: Report

Remember the RX-8 Hydrogen RE? Probably not, but it’s proof that Mazda has done this before.

BY CHRIS TSUI

While most of the automotive world pivots toward battery-electric, Mazda is apparently following in part-owner Toyota’s footsteps in betting on hydrogen. What’s more, the Hiroshima automaker is said to be pairing the niche energy tech with another niche propulsion method: the rotary. If a new report from Japan’s Best Car Web is to be believed, Mazda is currently working on a hydrogen rotary engine, that is, a rotary engine that runs on hydrogen instead of gasoline. 

Decrypted via Google Translate, “Although it is a small scale, development has progressed. As the world has suddenly turned to decarbonization, the view that ‘hydrogen rotary is an important technology’ is rapidly expanding,” a Mazda official reportedly told the publication. 

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Every Car Made After 2027 May Have Drunk Driving Monitoring System

The bipartisan infrastructure bill has a provision that mandates the unproven technology be incorporated into all passenger vehicles within the decade.

By Aaron Gordon

Buried deep in the 2,700-page bipartisan infrastructure billis a provision that mandates all cars manufactured from 2027 onwards be equipped with a drunk driver monitoring system, in the hopes of ending a behavior that results in about 10,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. If passed with this provision, the bill would give a firm release date to a research program the federal government and an automotive industry group have collaborated on for more than a decade.

Since 2008, an alphabet soup of acronym organizations have been working on a public-private partnership to invent a new technology that can prevent drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) partnered with the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), an industry group representing all the major automakers, to form the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, which goes by the unfortunate acronym of DADSS. 

DADSS is working on two separate detection systems. One detects blood alcohol levels in a driver’s breath through ambient air in the car cabin, supposedly distinguishing the driver’s breath from that of any passengers. The other uses a touch sensor with infrared lights that can be incorporated into the push-start engine button to detect blood alcohol level through the skin. Both are designed to be passive monitoring systems, meaning the driver doesn’t have to do anything to be tested. If, in theory, the system detects a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, the car will not be allowed to drive, but can remain on to power the climate control or charge a phone. The technology will be open-source licensed, so any auto supplier or manufacturer can use it “on the same terms,” although it won’t be free.

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Self-healing materials to shape the cars of the future

Self-healing materials could revolutionise both vehicles and road surfaces

Ben Smye explores the current trends in self-healing materials research, and where they might take the automotive industry in the coming years

It sounds like something out of a science fiction film, but the idea of a self-healing car might not be as wild and futuristic as it seems. Though machines that can fix themselves remain a long way off, materials engineers have been developing technology that could soon make this fiction a reality.

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The Netflix generation won’t want to own cars – here’s how the auto industry can adapt

Younger consumers are drawn to the convenience of subscription services and will want the same model for using cars, Dr Andy Palmer argues. 

By Nick David and Dr. Andy Palmer 

A quick look at your bank statements will most likely reveal a consistent theme in each month’s transactions: payments to 

A generation of consumers, and I’m one of them, have become addicted to subscription services.

Simple and no-strings-attached, subscription services seem to exist for every possible product out there. And now cars are joining the subscription surge.

 The auto industry has experienced significant upheaval over the past decade.

Auto executives have dedicated most of their time and attention to adapting the physical and technical make-up of the cars they produce, such as shepherding from internal combustion engines to hybrid or electric in response to a more climate conscious market.

However, changing consumer attitudes are fuelling another major shift for the industry to contend with – and automotive executives are slowly waking up to it.

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Hyundai is working on a driverless car that can also turn into a ‘walking machine’

By Anmar Frangoul

  • As tech develops and consumer habits change, the sight of unmanned vehicles could become commonplace in both urban and rural locations. 
  • Drones have already been used to deliver medication to remote spots, for example. 

The Hyundai Motor Group has released details of a concept vehicle designed to function as both a four-wheel-drive car and a “four-legged walking machine,” in the latest example of how ideas on mobility and logistics are changing.

According to a statement from the South Korean automotive giant Wednesday, the vehicle — known as TIGER, or transforming intelligent ground excursion robot — has been designed to operate without a crew and in “extreme, remote locations.”

A team from Hyundai’s California-based New Horizons Studio has been working alongside U.S. firms Autodesk and Sundberg-Ferar on the project’s development.

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There aren’t enough computer chips to power modern cars

A lack of computer chips means that car companies have not been able to meet production demand.Image: REUTERS/Andreas Gebert 

Sean Fleming Senior Writer, Formative Content

  • Global car sales fell in 2020.
  • A shortage of computer chips is compounding poor sales by holding up production.
  • That could cost the industry $60 billion.

Besides reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the motor sector now faces another major challenge – it can’t get all the computer chips it needs.

Modern cars are reliant on technology. There’s software that monitors engine performance and emissions, cruise-control that automatically adjusts to keep pace with the speed of the vehicle in front, alarms that are triggered by straying out of lane – not to mention bluetooth connectivity, parking sensors, keyless entry and a host of safety features.

And that’s just in a conventional car. Self-driving and semi-autonomous cars are even more tech-laden.

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USPS unveils next-generation mail truck with electric drivetrain option

Defense contractor Oshkosh is the winner of a years-long contest

By Sean O’Kane 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has revealed its new mail truck after a years-long competition. The new truck will be built by Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh and can be fitted with both gasoline and electric drivetrains. But it won’t hit the road until 2023.

Oshkosh winning the contract is a potentially major blow to commercial electric vehicle startup Workhorse, which was one of the three remaining bidders. The company’s stock price plummeted following the announcement, and trading was halted multiple times.

The USPS has been looking to replace its existing mail trucks for years now, and it started taking solicitations for new designs back in 2015. The need for new trucks is urgent. The ones currently on the road are not only woefully out of date — they don’t even have air conditioning — but they’re a major fire risk.

The switchover was supposed to start happening in 2018, but the program experienced multiple setbacks. The USPS repeatedly extended deadlines in the early going at the request of the bidding manufacturers, and then when they finally delivered the first prototypes, many of them were faulty, according to an Inspector-General report released last August. The program was hit with further delays once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

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The measure of: Aptera Motors’ solar electric vehicle

By Siobhan Doyle

A San Diego-based motoring start-up has created a solar electric three-wheeled car that doesn’t require any charging.

Developed by Aptera Motors, the futuristic solar electric vehicle (sEV), which has an almost Jetsons flying-car-like aesthetic, features more than 3m2 of solar panels that are integrated into the body. This set-up allows the driver to travel up to 45 miles (72km) a day and up to 11,000 miles per year entirely on energy harnessed from the Sun “in most regions”, according to the company.

The car can also be plugged in like any other electric car and its fast-charging technology can offer a top model charge rate of up to 500 miles of range per hour.

“With Aptera’s ‘Never Charge’ technology, you are driven by the power of the Sun,” says co-founder Chris Anthony. “Our built-in solar array keeps your battery pack topped off and anywhere you want to go, you just go.”

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Nissan’s New Pod Concept Turns Remote Working into a Dream

By  Fabienne Lang

The company unveiled its office van concept that lets you work from anywhere.

Remote working just became a lot cooler thanks to Nissan. The Japanese car company unveiled its NV350 van on YouTube last week, and it’s been specially refurbished to house a remote office pod. 

With remote working becoming part of regular life lately, Nissan has smartly jumped on the bandwagon to offer an alternative for those who can’t stand working from home — or who simply want a change of scenery. 

The van allows people to work from anywhere, but it’s sadly only a concept at this stage. 

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The cloud-based car is arriving

By Joann Muller, author of Navigate

The notion of the car as a “computer on wheels” is moving past the realm of hype and closer to reality, which will transform the driving experience and improve road safety, too.

Why it matters: The arrival of long-promised technologies like 5G connectivity and new high-performance computers means cars will improve over time, instead of depreciating the minute they leave the dealer lot. 

  • With software updates, buyers will be able to add features or services that weren’t available at the time of purchase or enhance their ride with customized apps.
  • And once 5G is widely deployed, cars will also be able to communicate with each other and with the surrounding ecosystem, providing situational awareness and helping to avoid collisions.
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Mercedes-Benz integrates its front-of-car technology into one single AI screen

 BY: IRMA VENTER

From a manual radio, to a single in-car touch screen, to a large, easy to operate, curved 141-cm screen that reaches from one side of the car to the other. Also add to this the fact that the system is willing to learn through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). 

This is the evolution of the in-car information and entertainment system, incorporating the instrument panel, traditional centre screen, and a new added screen for the front passenger, into one continuous digital screen.

The Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX Hyperscreen is set to make its debut in the new EQS electric vehicle, set to launch later this year in selected global markets.

“With our MBUX Hyperscreen a design vision becomes reality,” says Daimler group chief design officer Gorden Wagener. “We merge technology with design in a fascinating way that offers the customer unprecedented ease of use.”

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