March 17, 2018 - March 23, 2018
Geneva Motor Show promotes new technologies
The biggest trend in
autos is the race to make new technologies affordable and functional. Some
of the vehicles on show - such as Volkswagen’s autonomous and battery-driven
I.D. Vizzion - are concepts not yet ready for production. Others have
vehicles that are ready to go on sale in coming months, such as Jaguar Land
Rover with the Jaguar I-Pace, a battery-driven SUV with 300 km range and a
Mercedes-Benz had an
addition to its EQ electric brand. Hyundai showed its Kona Electric, with
either a 300 kilometer or 470 kilometer range. Luxury carmakers like BMW and
Jaguar are eager to grab back some of the sales of high-end vehicles taken
by Tesla with its electric Model S high-performance sedan and Model X SUV.
The German automakers
and Ford are working to build a network of fast-charging stations across
Europe through their joint venture, Ionity. The idea is to make electric
vehicles more appealing by enabling longer trips. Currently, many electric
models are charged over several hours at home at night and used for short
commutes, limiting their use. 350 kilowatt-per-hour charging capacity could
cut charge times to 15 minutes or less. It is this battery charging
infrastructure which has been the major stumbling block for the future of
Automakers are under
pressure to come up with vehicles propelled by something other than internal
combustion engines (ICE) to comply with government efforts to reduce air
pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases blamed by some scientists for
global warming. The issue became even more pressing after a German court
said last week that polluted cities can ban older-model diesels. Diesel
sales had already slipped after Volkswagen’s 2015 scandal over cheating on
could herald a shift to transportation as a service with less incentive to
own a car. Analysts at IHS Markit estimate that autonomous cars will have
their first significant sales volume with 51,000 units in 2021 and surpass
33 million per year by 2040.
Some of the more
important vehicles at the Geneva show have already been revealed as
companies use stand-alone events to show off their new cars rather than
putting them on display in a crowd of other vehicles. That’s the case with
Mercedes-Benz A-Class, its small entry model hatchback that was unveiled
Feb. 2 in Amsterdam. The car features voice-activated control of navigation,
phone, music and heating and air conditioning somewhat like Amazon and
Google’s devices for home use.
The Geneva show is
typically a place to show off gorgeous, extremely fast and very, very
expensive vehicles. Luxury sports car maker McLaren offers the low-slung
Senna, named after the race driver Ayrton Senna. Its 800 horsepower
turbocharged V8 engine takes it to a top speed of 340 kph. Just 500 of the
sleek, carbon-fiber vehicles will be built, hand-assembled at the company’s
production center in Woking, Surrey, England. The price: 750,000 pounds
including tax. Undoubtedly a vehicle with cutting edge technology, but
completely over the top and over the ability of their 500 well-heeled
If a McLaren Senna is a little slow, here’s the car from Croatia
Rimac from Croatia turned
up at Geneva with the most outrageous supercar to end all supercars. This was
the Rimac C Two, to follow up on the Rimac Concept One.
Concept One will always be
remembered as one of the cars Richard Hammond crashed from Top Gear. This new
car is an all-electric supercar called the C Two, and it represents a
technological leap forward over the still-amazing Concept One.
Thanks to a 120 wh battery
pack, the Rimac C Two is capable of producing 1,914 horsepower from its four
electric motors. That’s two in the front and two in the rear, and those motors
are used to provide all-wheel drive and torque vectoring that can turn the car
into a drift machine or a slick-pavement prowler. It also has four gearboxes; a
pair of single-speed units handle the front motors, while a pair of two-speed
gearboxes distribute the power of the rear motors. The two-speed setup is
necessary to mitigate the massive amounts of torque being generated. Nearly
1,700 pound-feet, enough to tear up any bitumen.
All of that power is enough
to propel the C Two from 0-60 mph in just 1.85 seconds, while the quarter mile
takes a mere 9.1 seconds, claims Rimac. Finally, the top speed is 415 km/h.
The C Two is built on a
carbon-fiber monocoque. The design features butterfly doors and the brand’s
signature “tie” design along the sides that resolves into air intakes for the
rear cooling system. Aerodynamic forged alloy wheels channel air to the carbon
ceramic brakes and Pirelli tires specially designed for the car. The car has
active aerodynamics that include flaps in the hood, moving elements of the front
splitter, flaps for the flat underbody, and a rear spoiler that can raise to
improve downforce, lower to allow a higher top speed, or raise and tilt to act
as an airbrake.
Yes, the ultimate in
certified automotive craziness. 1.85 seconds to 60 mph. That’s enough to rip
your head off your shoulders. 1,700 lbs ft of torque is enough to tow the
Pattaya City Hall to Beach Road!
39th Bangkok International Motor Show on again
Grand Prix International
PLC has announced that the “The 39th Bangkok International Motor Show”, held
with the theme of “Revolution in Motion”, will run from March 28 to April 8,
2018 at IMPACT Challenger Muang Thong Thani. This is the number one car show in
Thailand and also the ASEAN countries.
The following details about
this year’s show were given to Automania by Grand Prix International.
Dr. Prachin Eamlumnow,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Grand Prix International PLC and the Organizing
Chairman of the 39th Bangkok International Motor Show reiterated that “Bangkok
International Motor Show is the No. 1 Motor Show in ASEAN, which certified by
OICA (Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles) to be listed
on the global Motor Show calendar, and the show is able to capture attention
from entrepreneurs in the automotive industry ranging from car and motorcycle
makers to auto parts manufacturers to participate in the show.”
“More than 30 car companies
jointly participate in the show this year, including the leading Japanese brands
like Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Mazda, Suzuki, while
representing Korean brands are KIA and Hyundai. For European and American
brands, this year we have Audi, BMW, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Jaguar,
Porsche, Land Rover, Volvo, MG, Ford, Maserati, and Chevrolet.
This year, there will be 15
motorcycle brands joining the show such as Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki,
Harley-Davidson, Triumph, and Royal Enfield.
The show will be even more
international this year since it is receiving collaboration from the auto parts
and accessories entrepreneurs association of China to participate the show for
the first time. With this kind of cooperation from countries in the region, the
show is expected to grow to a new dimension in the future.
Jaturont Komolmis, Chief
Operation Officer (COO) of Grand Prix International PLC and the Vice Chairman of
the 39th Bangkok International Motor Show stated that “After the continuous
success in the past year, the number of visitors exceeds 1.6 million and the
show is likely to expand in line with the growth of Thai automotive industry.
Apart from enjoying the latest innovation exhibited by many manufacturers to
indicate the driving technology of today and tomorrow, many more activities
await visitors to participate such as attending an automotive seminar or
witnessing car show.
The show is held at
Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Muang Thani from March 28 to April 8, 2018, 12 days
in total, and open from 12.00 to 22.00 hrs. every weekday and from 11.00 to
22.00 hrs. every weekend and public holidays.
The show will feature
concept cars along with new model launchings for the first time in Thailand. The
highlight of the event is about “Electric Vehicle”. What is the electric vehicle
in the future? It won’t be just a personal automobile only, but will also
further benefit to agriculture, transportation and Motorsports industries. From
April 2 to April 8, 2018, Grand Prix International PLC also hosts another
interesting car event dubbed the 10th Bangkok Used Car Show 2018 under the
concept of “Quality Used Car”, held at the Exhibition Hall 2 – 4, IMPACT Muang
Thong Thani. For those who are looking for a quality used car being offered at a
reasonable price from a reliable dealer with “No Deception” guarantee, plus many
more discounts and give away gifts, this show is just the right place for you.
On behalf of the steering
organizer, we would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to
all the participants, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Thai Automotive
Industry Association, Society of Automotive Engineer – Thailand, Thai Autoparts
Manufacturers Association, Thai Intelligent Transport Systems Association, the
Royal Automobile Association of Thailand Under Royal Patronage and Impact
Exhibition Management Company Limited for their kind support in hosting the
Automated factories is the future
“Smart” technology and automated vehicles
can take Thailand’s automotive manufacturers to the next level, a “Thailand 4.0”
industrial seminar was told.
Winai Tripaichayonsak, director of the
Industrial Maintenance and Management Center at the Thai-German Institute,
opened the March workshop on making a strategic plan for the automotive industry
at the Ambassador City Hotel in Jomtien Beach.
The meeting, attended by Chonburi
manufacturers who comprise a “cluster network” of factories and part suppliers,
are working with the Thai-German Institute to develop a model schema and
operational plan that would integrate the various companies to share resources
and become more efficient and competitive.
The two-day seminar focused on two parts of
that plan, driverless, autonomous vehicles used to transport equipment and
materials inside a factory, and “smart” technology to improve production
Such technology, the audience was told, can
monitor equipment use, send alerts when the equipment breaks down and measure
Both initiatives, the group was told, can
help to reduce the cost of management and improve productivity and efficiency.
Last week I asked, what car
is this? You would take it outside to pray. Clue – fugly. It was the Marcos
So to this week…The names Lee Iacocca and
Carroll Shelby and a famous race all came together with what car? No clues,
there’s enough already.
For the free beer at the car Club meeting,
be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or
[email protected] . Good luck!
Update Saturday, March 10, 2018 - March 16, 2018
Ferrari 488 Pista breaks cover
New Ferrari 488 Pista.
The new Ferrari Pista
(track) - has a 3.9 liter twin-turbo engine with 711 bhp and is the most
powerful Ferrari V8 yet.
Called the 488 Pista,
it’s a racier version of the 488 GTB and develops a 711 bhp. That makes it
the most potent V8 the Prancing Horse has ever produced for a road
The natural successor
to the much-loved 458 Speciale, the 488 Pista is so quick that it might
actually beat Ferrari’s own £1 million hypercar, the LaFerrari, in a sprint
to 100 kph.
confirmed a price but did say it will have a top speed exceeding 340 kph,
and it could be quicker than the LaFerrari hypercar to 100 kph, reaching the
speed in 2.85 seconds from zero.
As the name suggests,
it will be more at home on the track than highway tarmac, but it’s on the
circuit where many of the additions were honed.
That includes a new
exhaust system, high performance parts in the 3.9 liter twin-turbocharged V8
motor and more weaves of carbon fiber strewn across the bodywork - all
features that have been tested in the cars used in the 488 Challenge race
The modifications have
trimmed 90 kg off the standard 488 GTB tipping the scales at 1,280kg.
Porsche ditches diesel
Diesel has been getting
some bad press in the last couple of years. VW was found meddling with the
electronics and giving significantly low atmospheric readings. This was
serious enough for many people at VW to lose their jobs, and the executive
on top of the scandal is now apparently in jail.
VW owns Porsche these days, and diesel
has only been an option for Porsche customers in recent years, with Porsche
offering the fuel type as a variant nine years ago.
Without the arrival of high-performance
SUVs to dovetail the sale of its more traditional sports cars, Porsche may
never have offered diesel engines at all.
The decision to ditch diesel comes just
months after the Stuttgart-based manufacturer confirmed that there would be
no diesel variant of the new-for-2018 third-generation Cayenne from its
launch in August - though it could still get a cleaner diesel, it said.
And fanning the flames of a complete
move away from the under-fire fuel, Porsche confirmed in a statement that
the Macan S Diesel had been ‘taken out of the production program too,
meaning it will only sell petrol-powered 4x4s for the foreseeable future.
Let us hope the super sniffing sleuths
don’t find an atmospheric contaminant with gasoline in the ICE engines and
if they check in Pattaya with our diesel baht busses we’ll all be walking.
New regulations for driving licenses and renewals
News to hand is that
the government is instituting new regulations for first license applicants,
and for renewals as well. These new regulations refer to the medical
examination which has to be done. Currently this medical is an easy tick the
box for the doctor, and most people get their form of ticked boxes from
their local clinic. Takes about five minutes and something under 500 baht.
This new form requires
a blood test for various ailments, as well as a family and personal medical
history, almost as good as a check-up. Normally I applaud all measures taken
to lessen the road toll (we are the worst in the world, remember), but at
this point I have to ask the question – How many road deaths are the result
of a driver’s poor health? Epileptics and Narcoleptics spring to mind, and
indeed we did have one fatality last year when the driver had an epileptic
fit in a busy street. Read that again – one fatality caused through a
With the road toll
figures around 61 every day, finding the epileptics is not going to change
the road toll figures very much.
Looking further into
the road toll, approximately 80 percent of the fatalities are motorcycle
riders. And the main reason the riders (and pillion) die is lack of a good
crash helmet. And why did they have an accident in the first place? Driving
under the influence of alcohol.
There already is
legislation covering alcohol and crash helmets, so that is a good start.
Unfortunately the application of the legislation is, at best, patchy. There
are roadside checkpoints with breathalyzers to find those drivers with a
breath alcohol great than 0.05. At that stage it all falls down. Application
of some baht can make the problem go away, leaving an impaired driver to do
it all again.
Helmets are easy to
police. Is the driver wearing one? This results in a small fine. However,
even if wearing a helmet, is it good enough to protect the brain? The
plastic ones are not. Is it being worn with the strap done up?
Now here is where the
government can demonstrate if it is serious about the road toll. Sales
outlets for helmets should be given three months to get rid of sub-standard
helmets and thereafter heavy fines for sales of the defective models.
Factories and other large employers of labor to ban entrance to the company
parking area if not wearing a helmet.
Within one year the
road toll would be down, but it needs a government/police blitz, maintained
continuously for the first 12 months. Or would we see another “crack down”
and application of another baht roadside slap on the wrist with a wet tram
Natter Nosh and Noggin
The Pattaya car club meets
at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park. The next meeting is on
Monday March 12 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. A totally informal meeting of like-minded
souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus
lies and outright exaggerations). Come along and meet the guys who have a common
interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a
few beers. Always a fun night. The Car Club nights are only on the second Monday
of the month (not every second Monday)!
Why F1 is losing spectators
All stats are showing a
decrease in popularity in the television coverage of F1. This is not
mirrored in other forms of motor sport, with MotoGP and Speedway going
Watch this clip from YouTube:
If that doesn’t have you on the edge of
your seat, you’re dead.
What the F1 spectators have been
calling for is close competition, not fancy electronics and unreliable
hybrids with engine revs slower than many road cars these days. We miss the
scream of 17 thousand RPM. We miss the side by side and nose to tail dicing.
We are not in the slightest interested in “dirty air”. And we want large
legible numbers on the cars, so we know who is where.
And in the meantime stop re-arranging
the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Last week I asked what
famous car had a Ford V8 in the rear, a fiberglass body and a connection with an
ancient Egyptian motif. What was it? It was the Stout Scarab a 1930–1940’s
American minivan. It was designed by William Bushnell Stout and manufactured by
Stout Engineering Laboratories and later by Stout Motor Car Company of Detroit,
Michigan. The Stout Scarab is credited by some as the world’s first production
minivan, or a 1946 experimental prototype.
So to this week. What car is this? You
would take it outside to pray. Clue – fugly.
For the free beer at the car Club meeting,
be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or
[email protected] . Good luck!
Update Saturday, March 3, 2018 - March 9, 2018
PEA launches Volta an electric car-recharging platform
If you ever had any doubts
regarding the forthcoming invasion of electric cars, the Provincial Electricity
Authority (PEA) launched its Volta platform project to encourage use of electric
vehicles and get charging stations to join its network.
As part of the project, the
PEA will install Volta kits and electronic card readers at electric-vehicle
charging stations hooked into the utility’s Volta system, with data transmitted
back to the PEA.
People using electric
vehicles will be able to use mapping services and navigation systems to find
charging stations in the utility’s networks. Moreover, they can check the
station’s status and make reservations and check on any maintenance being done
to the car or its battery.
They also can check how
much time until a charge is complete with a smartphone application. Finally,
users can pay for their electric top-up online.
To get the project off the
ground, the PEA is offering free charging through June 30.
It has always been the case
that electric vehicles would take off as long as there was some infrastructure.
That is now happening, with quite a number of stations operating in Bangkok.
Range anxiety is being
countered by the recharging stations which in reality operate just like gasoline
stations. The only difference is you can’t walk up to the nearest recharging
station and walk away with a one gallon container of volts.
Pyeongchang Olympics showcases Korean self-driving vehicles
Pietro Decristofaro & Youkyung Lee
Pyeongchang, South Korea
(AP) - There’s a competition at the Pyeongchang
Winter Olympics that has nothing to do with sports, and plenty to do with
jousting between automakers and tech companies over autonomously driving
South Korea’s largest
automaker and a local telecom firm haggled for months over who would get to
claim the exclusive right to label its vehicle as “autonomous.” In the end,
Hyundai Motors rolled out an “autonomous” sedan while KT Corp.’s self-driving
bus was christened the “5G Bus.”
The self-driving vehicles
on display at the Winter Olympics are showcasing South Korea’s prowess in both
automotive and telecoms technology.
They took to the roads only
after a sponsorship battle over whether such vehicles should be considered a
form of transportation or a new kind of internet-connected device, like
Each Olympic corporate
sponsor gets exclusive marketing rights in its own industry, so a blurring of
boundaries between industries can lead to friction, said Kang Joon-ho, a sports
marketing professor at Seoul National University. “It’s not clear whether we
should see self-driving cars as vehicles or software, so it’s unclear which
sponsorship category they belong to.”
In the end, a compromise
was worked out.
Hyundai Motor Co., the
local sponsor for the transport category and the world’s fifth-largest auto
group, is seeking to dispel its image as a latecomer in autonomous driving. In
Pyeongchang, it also is getting a jump on Japanese rivals that are preparing to
deploy self-driving cars at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with its five autonomous
Hyundai Nexo fuel-cell cars. They are navigating without direct human control
within a range of about 7 kilometers from the Olympic stadium in the mountainous
In a one-time test before
the opening ceremony for the games, Hyundai had the Nexos drive 190 kilometers
of highways from Seoul to Pyeongchang. The vehicles passed through toll gates
and navigated junctions and tunnels without human controls or interruptions.
It was the culmination of
years of preparation, and development of 3D maps by the government.
“South Korea started late
but we are at a level where we can pull off autonomous driving even in
complicated, difficult situations,” said Kim Jin-hoo, a deputy director at the
transport ministry. “We hope the event has helped ease public fears toward
self-driving cars and piqued interest since the government aims to see
self-driving cars commercialized by 2020.”
Kwon Hyoung-Geun, head of
Hyundai’s Intelligent Safety Research Team, said the Nexo demonstration focuses
on autonomous driving on public roads with steep curves, hills, tunnels, traffic
lights, intersections and roundabouts.
Hyundai is partnering with
U.S.-based self-driving technology startup Aurora Innovation to develop
self-driving vehicles that can operate without human input in most conditions,
aiming to begin sales by 2021. Analysts expect Hyundai to launch self-driving
taxis or ride-hailing services by then.
As the local sponsor for
wireless networks, KT, formerly state-owned Korea Telecom, is focusing on
self-driving cars becoming the new data-guzzling devices of the future.
Self-driving cars consume
enormous amounts of data as sensors and chips monitor road conditions and
analyze them in real time. KT, along with Intel and Samsung Electronics, has
built 5G networks as a trial service in the Olympic towns to handle those
mountains of data.
Since it has the telecoms,
not automotive sponsorship, for appearances’ sake KT agreed not to present its
two “5G connected” buses to the media as driving unmanned, even though that’s
how they are operating in the seaside town of Gangneung, where Olympic ice
hockey and skating matches are underway.
Leading global telecom
carriers plan to roll out 5G networks in 2020. Such networks process data about
100 times faster than current fourth-generation wireless networks, a speed that
enables users to download feature-length movies in a matter of a couple of
KT plans to begin 5G
services - the bus is one example - across South Korea in 2019. Despite its
sponsorship rivalry with Hyundai, it also is providing 5G data networks to the
Nexos, whose rear seats are outfitted with 5G entertainment services.
The 5G connected buses are
like giant moving smartphones, with passenger seat windows made of transparent
displays instead of traditional glass that serve as screens for watching movies
or displaying fictional landscapes, instead of just the view outside the bus.
While some riders might
prefer just to gaze at the landscape, Kim Hyung Joon, a senior vice president at
KT, says the technology will liberate drivers to relax and watch movies.
“That way, cars will become
very much similar to mobile devices that are connected all the time and consume
data like a smartphone,” Kim said.
((Catching a bus to town
now takes on a completely new concept for transport. Despite fears in some
areas, commuters sit in trains and planes which are already literally
autonomous, where the passengers have no input in the speed or direction. Trains
and planes also have accidents, but we don’t give up traveling.))
Lexus tops vehicle dependability study for 7th straight year
Detroit (AP) -
Lexus is the most dependable vehicle brand for the seventh consecutive year in
J.D. Power’s annual survey.
Porsche, Buick, Infiniti
and Kia round out the top five brands in the survey. The worst performers were
Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat, Jeep and Cadillac.
The survey measures
problems that vehicle owners experience after three years of ownership. For this
year’s survey, J.D. Power collected responses from 36,896 original owners of
2015 model year vehicles.
The overall dependability
of vehicles increased this year for the first time since 2013, thanks to
improving quality. J.D. Power says customers complain most frequently about
problems with voice recognition technology and Bluetooth connectivity.
The survey also says:
- Toyota Motor Corp., which
owns the Lexus and Toyota brands, had six vehicles rank at the top of their
segments, the most of any company. Winners include the Toyota Prius, which was
the top compact car, and the Lexus RX, which was the top midsize SUV.
- Older vehicles tend to do
better in the rankings than new ones, since automakers have more time to work
out kinks the longer a vehicle is on the market. The Audi Q3 small SUV was the
only new-for-2015 vehicle to get a segment-level award.
- Infiniti was the biggest
climber in the rankings, moving from 29th in 2017 to fourth this year. Fiat,
Nissan, Ford, Kia and Dodge also showed significant improvements.
- The industry average
score was 142 reported problems per 100 vehicles. Lexus had 99 reported problems
while Chrysler had 211.
If you were the head honcho
of Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat, or Jeep, what would you do to vault your brand up
the reliability ladder? It would appear that a complete re-think is necessary.
Motor Show coming up
Bangkok International Motor Show.
ratified Motor Show for Thailand will be in Bangkok March 28 through to April
08. It will be held at Muang Thong Thani and is the 39th annual
show. The man with the original concept and driving force was Dr. Prachin
Eamlumnow, who still heads the organizers today.
Last week I asked what car
was this? They only made a few of them. Top speed 372 km/h, zero to 100 in 3.2
seconds and was a car for three. What was it? Clue – the youngest one is 20
years old. It was the McLaren F1, a sports car designed and manufactured by
McLaren Cars. Originally a concept conceived by Gordon Murray, he convinced Ron
Dennis to back the project and engaged Peter Stevens to design the exterior and
interior of the car. The driver sat in the middle and the two passengers either
side and slightly behind. The speed records were set in 1998.
So to this week. Despite the Great
Depression there was much original activity in the automobile field. One famous
car had a Ford V8 in the rear, a fiberglass body and a connection with an
ancient Egyptian motif. What was it?
For the free beer at the car Club meeting,
be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or
[email protected] . Good luck!