By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- September 17, 2015 -- Interesting bits and pieces from the week that was:
- The Frankfurt auto show took place this last week. The opening address from Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, contained some interesting ideas. According to Wissman the “classical internal combustion engine” will continue to play a major role in the auto industry. “It still has considerable potential for optimization. Many points of leverage are being exploited: smaller engines, higher turbo-charging and consistent use of lightweight construction ensure that new vehicles will be even more efficient in terms of fuel consumption, and their CO2 emissions are falling accordingly,” said Wissman. He went on to stress that “modern clean diesels really are clean machines. They are not only very economical when it comes to consumption, but the strict Euro 6 standard also means they emit extremely low levels of pollutants. All the critics of diesels should know that those who are serious about action on climate and reducing CO2 must also say ‘yes’ to clean diesels.”
Some other interesting stats from his opening speech: Today one quarter of all new cars already have an Internet connection, and two years from now the figure will be 80 percent; connectivity makes an important contribution to protecting the environment and the climate, “because in the future unnecessary congestion can be avoided, CO2 emissions will continue to decrease, and there will be far less annoying traffic looking for a parking spot in towns and cities.” He also said cars and smartphones are “merging into a single unit and the connected car is becoming a mobile communication platform.” In the future, “left turn assistants” will prevent collisions at intersections, a “construction site assistant” will support the driver in tight highway construction sites. Having reached his destination, the driver is “warned in good time by a clearance checking assistant if the bicycle on the roof carrier is too high to enter the parking garage.” When it comes to parking, “in the future the car itself will be able to look for and find its parking spot – and will then park itself automatically in the smallest spaces when the driver simply presses the symbol on his smartphone.”
- Porsche has introduced its new electric concept sports car. Watch out Elon Musk. The car is a 600-horsepower, all-electric “foil” to Tesla's Model S. The car will be powered by a pair of electric motors derived from Porsche's 919 LeMans racers. The car will boast 600 horsepower and 310 miles of range. It will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. Porsche claims the car will be able to reach 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes. Inside the car there is no transmission tunnel so there is lots of room. The controls utilize eye-tracking software to detect which instrument you are trying are looking at. There are also said to be holographic displays.
- Honda offered up the results of an in-house design competition that saw some designers create a vehicle that is half motorcycle, half car. It seems the designers of off-road vehicles are moving toward something more like a truck or car.
- Car companies are hiring software executives these days. "What car companies are doing is hiring people generally from outside automotive. Some companies a few years ago didn't have a connected car department. They all have that now," said Malcolm Earp, Chief Executive at Magma People, a specialist automotive recruitment company said.
- In September of last year Daimler bought “mytaxi” and “RideScout”, smartphone applications that will help the maker of Mercedes-Benz limousines provide service to people “who do not own cars.” In June Daimler Trucks bought telematics provider Zonar Systems to provide satellite-based connectivity services for fleet operators that want to do remote diagnostics.