Rinspeed unveils Snap concept car at CES in Las Vegas, US

Rinspeed is a Swiss automobile manufacturer and tuning designer. It specialises in restoring classic cars, and tuning and modifying modern cars such as Porsches and Subarus. Since 1991, they have also designed exotic concept and special vehicles for the Geneva Motor Show and other car shows each year, but do not enter into production.

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Self-driving cars, stuffed full of short-lived IT components, will help solve the transport problems in urban areas in the foreseeable future – and not just there. To this end, Swiss powerhouse of ideas Rinspeed has designed an elaborate and unparalleled mobility ecosystem in its latest concept car, the “Snap.” Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht makes the hardware and software, which is bound to be outdated quickly, part of the high-wear chassis (“skateboard“) – and separates it from the durable passenger safety cell (“pod”). From now on, they both will go their separate ways – whereby the pod can even be useful when stationary: it can be anything from a variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod to a cozy cuddling pod and even provide a breathtaking, fully connected user experience for the occupants of the passenger cabin. The sky is here the limit for the possible applications.

The Swiss mobility visionary uses an ingenious trick to disentangle the different lifecycles of various automotive components: The skateboard carries the durable mechanical and the fast-aging IT components. They are recycled after a few years of intensive use once they have reached the end of their design life, while the much less stressed pod is able to remain in service for much longer, before it also must be sent to recycling. This benefits the environment, because it plays a significant role in conserving natural resources.

Almost as an aside, the innovative Swiss solve a problem that many know from the navigation systems in their own vehicles: they no longer find the way, because software and map data are outdated. What is merely annoying here can quickly become a safety issue in self-driving cars in the near future.

No question, when it comes to the Snap, the name really says it all, because everything fits together perfectly and can be snapped together. In keeping with a tried and proven tradition, the twenty-fourth concept car from Rinspeed was again designed at Swiss company 4erC and technically executed at Esoro. An extensive study of the Snap ecosystem conducted by EY shows its (virtually) unlimited possibilities. The electric vehicle – as always when Rinderknecht is at work – is chock-full of technical and visual finesse, contributed by a reputable network of global companies. The two steering axles along with the integrated electric powertrain come from ZF. They allow the Snap to turn practically on a dime and produce no emissions in urban traffic. The Snap runs on weight-optimized and stylish 7×18 Borbet alloy wheels shod with tires of size 225/35-18, which are optimized to minimize fuel consumption. By the way, all adhesive bonds in and on the Snap are realized with innovative adhesives from Sika Automotive.

Optionally, there is even a ‘personal assistant’ in the form of an autonomous, intelligent robot to accompany the occupants. It will also be happy to help with running errands, carrying purchases, or handle other tedious tasks.

The city runabout is brimming with sensors. For example, US company Gentex is contributing the Iris scanner for occupant detection and dimmable front and rear glass elements, which can also be found on the Boeing Dreamliner. The sophisticated Lidar sensors from Ibeo in Hamburg ensure that obstacles on the road are detected by means of real-time measurement of the light reflections. The Harman Autonomous Drive Platform that is part of the skateboard makes safely moving through city traffic possible. It uses the NXP BlueBox, a sensor fusion solution. In turn, the Smart Antenna, jointly developed by NXP and Harman, ensures safe communication to the world outside as well as a high-speed connection to the Harman Ignite Cloud Platform. With 5G, Car2X, radio tuner, BT, and WiFi, it covers the entire spectrum of wireless networking possibilities. Sprint, a leading US telecommunications company, is committed to ensuring stable networks. Moreover, with highly-sensitive pod recognition and its customized Smart Access solution, the chip giant NXP offers a broad range of technologies that show promise for the future. Europe’s leading business software company SAP contributes by enabling the digitized ecosystem through innovative technologies and software solutions in the areas of smart cities, connected health, connected mobility, and transportation. And TomTom provides HD maps for autonomous driving and navigation technologies that enable predictive driving for passengers’ comfort. Finally, the Israeli start-up Valens’s HDBaseT Automotive connectivity technology connection is responsible for the fast and secure transmission of even ultra-high-definition, high-resolution multimedia signals between the numerous vehicle components.

An innovative marketplace net from MHP allows custom use of the wide variety of pods and skateboards with a wide range of service providers. Also not commonplace for a concept vehicle: The transmission of data and information was independently and impartially tested and certified by Dekra, the globally operating testing and certification experts. And who supplies the electricity for all these consumers? It flows into the vehicle via the quick-charging cable with high-voltage technology from Harting based in the East Westphalian town of Espelkamp.

Harman developed the ‘True Level 5’ HMI, an operating concept perfectly tailored to the needs of changing passengers in a fully autonomous vehicle. The goal of the development: maximum possible individualization paired with optimal protection of personal data. To this end, there is three-level user authentication, depending on the desired personalization. A token unlocks the vehicle and customizes the displays. Personal cloud content is available after identification by face recognition. As a result, the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant knows the preferences and habits of each passenger and suggests, for example, a suitable restaurant for every passenger, depending on personal preferences. In addition, a third level of biometric identification is required if health data of the passenger are to be recorded and analyzed.

Each passenger has three displays at his disposal for interaction. Personal settings are selected with the ‘Personal Control Panel’ featuring an interactive control dial. Personal contents and messages are shown on the touch-controlled ‘Hover Tabs,’ which are brought into position by swiveling arms. Two large centrally placed screens provide route information and movie enjoyment. The Lexicon surround sound system with Ambisonics Escape signal processing delivers a unique audio experience with all applications.

The Snap uses six projectors to communicate visually with the outside world. Two of them use the windshield and the rear glass to send full-color messages to other road users such as ‘Right of way granted’ or ‘Caution, children.’ Four laser projections on the side windows are used for communication with boarding passengers. The necessary functional interlayers for all-round glazing come from the Japanese manufacturer Sekisui.

There is also a host of technical innovations in the appealing exterior of the Snap, which is more reminiscent of architecture than of automotive design. For example, from German lighting specialist Osram Opto Semiconductors, which installs digital license plates as well as the entire lighting system – including interior LEDs that emit ultraviolet light to render bacteria harmless and thereby improve hygiene. The front and rear panels as well as lighting elements in the rocker panels are multifunctional and can display multimedia contents. They come from US company Techniplas, a leader in the design and manufacturing of engineered products for mobility. The safe swapping of the pods is ensured by lightweight-design supports from Swiss Company Georg Fischer.

The wellness features of the interior play a vital role in self-driving cars. In this area, Rinspeed has for years rightfully relied on the innovative Swabian textile developers at Strähle+Hess, who work with

Dutch company Stahl, the world market leader for leather and man-made surfaces in automotive interiors. Functionality goes hand in hand with the discriminating design standard. The occupants relax on naturally soft leather from automotive leather specialist Bader. The storage systems from Dr. Schneider Unternehmensgruppe, some of which are even portable, offer optimal storage space complete with cup holders and wireless charging system. The portable storage compartment is a truly clever solution. Also able to convince is surface specialist Benecke-Hornschuch Surface Group with its groundbreaking and partially translucent materials used on seating areas, storage facilities, floor, and as side panels. With traditional Korean Sanggam printing for seats and trim, the South Korean upholstery fabric manufacturer Kolon sets accents in the interior. Now then, time to lean back and drink some fresh tea. That is another thing the Snap designers also thought of! Mint and strawberries for homemade and healthy infusion drinks grow in urban farming containers from Kostal.

Snap – rarely has a concept car more precisely described the problems an entire industry has with the different lifecycles of various car components – and offered up an interesting solution at the same time. Maybe something goes ‘click’ with many who will marvel at the new creation of Swiss mobility mastermind Frank M. Rinderknecht at the CES in Las Vegas and in spring of 2018 – in the backyard of the Swiss national so to speak – at the Geneva Auto Show. As always professionally staged by Saarland ad agency Vollmond.

Press Release

Tata Motors rolls out first batch of Tigor EV from Sanand Plant

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In the image, Mr. Ratan N Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group and Mr. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors flagging off the first batch of TIGOR EVs from the Sanand plant.

Tata Motors today rolled out the first batch of the Tigor Electric Vehicle (EV) at the hands of N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors, from its Sanand facility in Gujarat. Present on this momentous occasion were Ratan N Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Group, Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors and members of the Tata Motors Executive Committee. The Tigor EVs are being manufactured for the Indian Government’s prestigious order of electric vehicles from the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), an entity under the Ministry of Power.

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Flagging off the batch of electric vehicles, Mr. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata group said, “This occasion is a significant milestone for Tata Motors and a proud moment for the entire team. As we work together to build the future of e-mobility in India, I am confident that our customers will respond very favourably to this electric model. I congratulate the entire Tata Motors team for this commendable achievement and wish them the very best as they go forward on this journey.”

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Mr. Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors accompanied by senior leadership team, drives off the first TIGOR EV post the ceremonial flag off at the Sanand plant today

According to Mr. Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors, “It is indeed a momentous occasion for us as we have shown an exemplary teamwork spirit to overcome all challenges in delivering this project. I also recognize the invaluable contribution made by Electra EV as part of this team. With Tigor EV, we have begun our journey in boosting e-mobility and offering a full range of electric vehicles to the Indian customers. This tender has effectively paved way for connecting our aspirations in the e-mobility space with the vision of the Government.”

Tata Motors had qualified as L1 bidder in the midst of stiff competition and won the tender of 10,000 electric cars floated by EESL in September 2017. For phase 1, Tata Motors is required to deliver 250 Tigor EVs, for which it has received a LoA. For an additional 100 cars, the LoA is expected to be issued shortly by EESL. The electric drive systems for this prestigious order have been developed and supplied by Electra EV – a company established to develop and supply electric drive systems for the automotive sector.

Tata Motors is committed to the Government’s vision for electric vehicles by 2030 and will work in a collaborative manner to facilitate faster adoption of electric vehicles and to build a sustainable future for India.

Via Tata Motors Press Release

Queensland Govt launches Queensland Electric Super Highway to encourage EV adoption across the state

Queensland Super Electric Highway
Image Source

Thursday, July 27, 2017 – Environment Minister and Acting Main Roads Minister Steven Miles officially kick-started the EV revolution in the State with the launch of the Queensland Electric Super Highway – the world’s longest in one State.

Mr Miles said the super highway will be a series of fast-charging electric vehicle stations which will be rolled out at locations right up the Queensland coast from the Gold Coast to Cairns to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in Queensland.

“This project is ambitious, but we want as many people as possible on board the electric vehicle revolution, as part of our transition to a low emissions future,” Mr Miles said.

“Today I’m announcing the first 18 towns and cities that make up phase one of the Electric Super Highway and will, once operational in the next six months, make it possible to drive an electric vehicle from the state’s southern border to the Far North.

“They will be available for use at no cost for the initial phase of the super highway so we can encourage as many people as possible to start using them.”

Mr Miles said what made the announcement even more exciting was the fact that the energy supplied in the fast-charging stations would be green energy purchased through green energy credits or offsets.

“EVs can provide not only a reduced fuel cost for Queenslanders, but an environmentally-friendly transport option, particularly when charged from renewable energy,” he said.

“The Queensland Electric Super Highway has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel around Queensland in the future.”

Mr Miles said electric vehicle ownership rates around the world were increasing, largely due to significant advances in battery technology and continued cost reductions in EVs.

“The most recent Queensland Household Energy Survey showed that 50% of Queenslanders will consider an electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid or regenerative braking hybrid, when purchasing a new car in the next two years and that majority said improvements to public fast-charging infrastructure would further tempt them into purchasing an EV,” he said.

Behyad Jafari, Electric Vehicle Council CEO said the Queensland Government was to be commended for its national leadership in support of the electric vehicle industry.

“This initial support from government serves as a signal to the market that Queensland is serious about electric vehicles and provides certainty to unlock investment to grow our economy and create new, high skilled jobs,” he said.

“I encourage all governments across Australia to follow suit, particularly as this support will help to provide motorists with increased choice of cars that are cheaper and healthier to operate.”

“The future truly is electric,” Minister Miles said.

The 18 fast-charging station locations
Cairns, Tully, Townsville, Bowen, Mackay, Carmila, Marlborough, Rockhampton, Miriam Vale, Childers, Maryborough, Cooroy, Brisbane, Helensvale, Coolangatta, Springfield, Gatton and Toowoomba.

Auto industry responses:

Audi Australia: Paul Sansom, Managing Director
“Fast-charging infrastructure is of paramount importance to the future success of Electric Vehicles in Australia.”

“By 2020, Audi will have three fully electric vehicles available to the Australian market, and we want to bring this leading-edge technology to our consumers as part of an ownership proposition that gives them confidence in its suitability to our national road network.

“With the vast distances in between our capital cities, consumers need to have confidence that they will be able to find a charging station when they need it, even if they’re driving in an unfamiliar region. This is the current expectation around frequency of petrol stations, and it’s – rightly – what consumers will demand as EVs become more prevalent.

“The Queensland Government should be applauded for their show of leadership, and we look forward to similar initiatives from other states and territories.”

BMW Group Australia: Marc Werner, Chief Executive Officer
“The BMW Group is a global leader in innovative personal mobility and we currently offer seven pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in the Australian market.  We have the product and the customers – now all we need is the infrastructure.”

“And that’s why it is so heartening to see the Queensland Government showing such strong leadership with strategic policy direction and action on infrastructure.  This progressive initiative sets the benchmark for other Australian governments to follow.”

Hyundai Motor Company Australia: Scott Grant, Chief Operating Officer
“Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) is proud to support the Qld Government in its zero emission initiatives and the rollout of an Electric Super Highway network. We look forward to the other states following Queensland’s lead in developing infrastructure to support low and zero emission vehicles in Australia.

As one of the global automotive leaders in green vehicle technology, Hyundai Motor will continue to work with the Queensland Government to move towards a sustainable transport future.”

Jaguar Land Rover: Matthew Wiesner, Managing Director
“We are shaping the future at JLR. Up to half of Jaguar Land Rover’s line-up will be plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles by 2020.”

“JLR Australia applauds the Queensland government’s plans for its support of the electric vehicle industry, and in particular their plans for the Electric Super Highway and the planned roll-out of the Type 2 DC charger network, and we would encourage other states and territories to follow in the same direction.”

“Further incentives and rebates are required to expedite the take-up of electric vehicles by Australian consumers, and we encourage all governments to look at reducing Stamp Duty, Registration and Luxury Car Tax on electric and hybrid vehicles as this support will help to provide motorists with increased choice of cars that are cheaper and healthier to operate.”

Mercedes-Benz: David McCarthy, Senior Manager Public Relations
“A prime objective of Mercedes-Benz is emission free driving. We already have produced Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles for consumers and these will be added to in the near future. We currently have introduced a range of PHEV’s and we will follow these with a range of pure EV’s in Australia in 2019. We have invested in our own unique design solar charging station with battery capture at our Melbourne Head Office that powers our Company fleet of PHEVs.”

Mitsubishi Motors Australia: John Signoriello, Chief Executive Officer
“We are very pleased with the Queensland Government’s proactive approach with their investment in the EV Superhighway. This is very positive step forward and has the potential to shift the way consumers view electric vehicles in Australia and reduce any reluctance to adopting electric vehicle technology.”

Via QLD Govt Media Statement and EVC