oyota will deploy some 3,700 vehicles and mobility products at next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics, nearly all of them electrified, including a futuristic self-driving pod car that will escort the Olympic torch and lead the marathon race.
The so-called Concept-i will be a working version of a concept first unveiled in 2017. Toyota said the vehicle will demonstrate Level 4 autonomous driving ability and “agent conversation” technology, which uses artificial intelligence to “understand” and interact with humans.
It was unclear whether the Concept-i will be driving itself during its torch and marathon duties.
Despite its wild exterior, replete with top-to-bottom slashed side windows, a wedge-shaped silhouette and concealed rear tires, the Concept-i still gets a conventional steering wheel.
Toyota’s Olympic plan also encompasses a small fleet of autonomous boxcar-like people movers that will shuttle up to 20 passengers apiece. At least a dozen of these e-Palette runabouts will transfer staff and athletes around the Olympic and Paralympic Village. Toyota will also marshal about 500 of its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedans to usher people between sporting venues.
Toyota, a top sponsor of next summer’s Olympic games, fleshed out its plans in a news release on Friday under a mobility for all theme. Japan’s biggest automaker said its Olympic vehicle fleet will have the lowest emissions footprint of any so far, thanks to its reliance on electrification.
Toyota also offered the clearest picture yet of the e-Palette, a concept shown at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. The vehicle is pitched as a cornerstone of mobility as a service.
With time NURTW member’s excesses will be over –CIoTA President
gainst the backdrop of Nigerian’s complain against alleged and violent and indecent activities of members of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the Motor parks and at bus stops in Lagos and many other parts of the country, the President of Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIoTA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh has said that all those bad behaviours will fizzle out with time.
Dr. Jamoh said this while fielding questions at a press conference on Friday in Lagos to intimate the Nigerian public of the forthcoming CIoTA 2019 national transport summit/Annual General Meeting holding in Abuja from December 3-5, 2019.
He said since the CIoTA Nigeria Bill was signed into law by President Muhammdu Buhari in June, members of NURTW have being coming forward to register as members of the institute. “With our professional training and retraining programmes line up for members and stated rules and standards of operation, the members cannot act otherwise while on the job. So those wrong things Nigerians complain about NURTW members will gradually fizzle out with time,” he said.
He disclosed that the CIoTA 2019 is in line with his promise during his investiture as the president of the institute in February this year. “I noted that the creation of the institute will further help proffer solutions to the challenges facing the transportation sector in Nigeria, and also augment government’s effort in that direction. We promised that we will work with relevant bodies and associations to ensure the realization of an efficient transport sector.
“We also stated then that the institute will come up with programmes and create a platform where all transport-related bodies would come together to brainstorm and share ideas with the relevant authorities for the development of the sector.
“It is in fulfillment of this promise that CIoTA Nigeria is organising the 2019 National Transport Summit/Annual General Meeting with the theme, ‘Unlocking the Potentials of Transportation for Sustainable Development.”
Dr Jamoh said the aim of the summit is to push for policies that will enable seamless integration of the different modes of transportation in the country, saying renowned experts like the Chairman of Presidential Economic Council, Dr. Doyin Salami and co-founder of the Lagos Business School, now Pan African University; Prof Pat Utomi will be making presentations at the summit.
According to him, issues that will be discussed at the summit, include how best “we can get the needed value in the transport sector supply chain.”
He said also to be brought at the front burner is the Apapa gridlock that has caused the entire Apapa community untold hardship “because of the concentration on Lagos ports is quite voluminous. On our part as a body, we will be pushing for the use of other ports in the south-east and south-south region of the country, so that the Lagos ports are decongested.”
Kia unveils Seltos X-Line concepts at 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show
oments after unveiling the all-new 2021 Seltos SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Kia Motors America (KMA) let two exciting Seltos concepts off their leash. Flanking their production counterpart on-stage, the Seltos X-Line Trail Attack Concept and Seltos X-Line Urban Concept present unique approaches to pump up capability while remaining firmly entrenched in reality.
Conceived and penned at Kia Design Center America, and built by Zero to 60 Designs of Corona, CA, the concepts are meant to further convey the active lifestyles Seltos owners will embrace.
“The Seltos is an exciting addition Kia’s tough and rugged lineup of Kia SUVs,” said Michael Cole, president, KMA. “But the Kia brand is always looking toward the future and we are eager to show what may wait just around the corner. These new concepts are meant to get the creative juices flowing and illustrate what the ultimate Seltos could be.”
While the production of Seltos is planned to go on-sale in the first quarter of 2020, there are currently no plans to produce either concept. But it is worthy to mention that Kia said the same about the GT Concept and the Telluride Concept, both of which eventually found their way onto driveways across America in the form of the Stinger sport sedan and Telluride SUV.
Seltos X-Line Trail Attack Concept
Small SUVs are perfect for city slickers. But even urbanites like to occasionally take the road less traveled and that’s what the Trail Attack Concept is all about. The custom two-tone paint scheme evokes a stirring desert sunset and the eight ultra-bright Hella auxiliary lights mounted on the front bumper and roof light up the night once the sun dips below the dunes.
Equipped with electronic AWD, the center differential lock equally distributes power between the front and rear axles and the custom 2-inch lift kit raises ground clearance to 9.2-inches. Knobby off-road tires with 17×8–inch custom painted alloy wheels help improve off-road traction and security. A hidden winch behind the front valance can assist in particularly tough off-road situations, while a custom fabricated roof rack means the Trail Attack Concept never runs out of utility.
Powered by an unaltered 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Trail Attack Concept is good for 175-horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque through a 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission. Behind the heavily tinted windows, the Trail Attack Concept retains its purposeful and refined production interior.
Seltos X-Line Urban Concept
The city can often feel as rough and tumble as the most challenging off-road trail and the Urban Concept is the perfect companion for such mean streets. Inspired by the imposing glass and steel skyscrapers of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Urban Concept’s custom slate gray paint scheme is highlighted by a gloss-black roof panel for a splash of stark modernity.
Fear of potholes become a thing of the past with the custom 2-inch lift, which also helps to raise the seating position and offer a better vantage point around the snarled city traffic all too common these days. Electronically controlled AWD with torque vectoring puts power through the 17×8-inch alloy wheels where it’s needed most: to the tire with optimum traction. Resting below the custom hood complete with integrated intake is the same powerplant found in the Trail Attack Concept, offering authoritative acceleration away from stoplights… instead of scorpions.
Up top, four high-powered Hella auxiliary lights cut through low-hanging city fog and the custom fabricated roof rack will hold all the extra stuff any apartment dweller can amass. Already packed with high-tech features, including a 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, and backup camera, the interior has been left to already impressive production standards.
Nissan slides 4th time in 5 months
•To recall about 400,000 cars for brake defect
issan Motor Co. deliveries fell for the fourth time in the last month, sliding 5.8 per cent to 103,563. The company is taking a step-by-step approach to moving back in the right direction, and cheap borrowing costs and other factors probably will keep industrywide demand steady into next year, David Kershaw, division vice president for Nissan brand sales in North America, said by phone.
The Infiniti luxury brand has been weighing on the company’s numbers all year, and the trend continued into October with sales plunging 23 per cent. The only models in the lineup that didn’t drop were the Q50 sedan and QX60 crossover.
Meanwhile, Nissan announced this month that they would recall more than 394,000 vehicles equipped with a faulty brake seal that could leak fluid and potentially cause a fire.
In paperwork filed with federal regulators Nov. 8, Nissan said actuators included in the anti-lock braking systems may have a loose seal and leak fluid. In its filing it said 2015-2018 Nissan Murano crossovers, 2015-2018 Nissan Maxima sedans, 2017-2019 Nissan Pathfinder crossovers and related 2017-2019 Infiniti QX60 crossovers were affected by the defect.
Nissan didn’t say if it was aware of any fires or injuries caused by the defect.
Owners of affected vehicles should receive a notice by Nissan starting next month. Nissan said in its filing that owners of defective vehicles may notice an illuminated ABS light in their instrument cluster to warn them of leaking brake fluid. If ignored, brake fluid could leak on an electrical circuit and cause a fire. Nissan said it will instruct owners to park their vehicles outside and Nissan will tow those vehicles to a dealer for immediate repair.
Dealers will replace the faulty parts on vehicles without illuminated ABS lights beginning in summer 2020 for free.
2020 Mercedes-Benz ECQ starts at $68,895
he 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC will launch at $68,895 (including a $995 destination fee) early next year, the company announced recently.
The EQC is the first dedicated EV from the flagship Mercedes brand, and the first of its EQ range of models to be introduced for wide consumption. While the sub-brand technically debuted on the Smart EQ ForTwo a year ago, that was merely a Smart ForTwo Electric Drive with a fresh set of badges.
As Mercedes-Benz launches new vehicles, it has been incorporating its new A.I.-based MBUX multimedia infotainment system, and the EQC doesn’t miss out on it. This new system has been developed to maximize interactivity. It accepts voice-, touch- and gesture-based commands, and in this application has been customized to integrate the EQC’s EV features.
MBUX has a separate category for EV functions that was designed to interface with the EQC’s navigation and mobile connectivity systems. This enables several critical functions designed to reduce range anxiety, including route planning and communication with charging station networks to make sure chargers are working and available along the way.
The EQC will launch with three trims: Progressive, Premium and Advanced, all with limited initial customization. The Progressive and Premium trims will get just two paint colors and two upholstery options; theadvanced model will boast three of each. More individualization is expected in future model years.
The 2020 EQC 400 packs a dual-motor electric powertrain with 402 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque. Under normal driving conditions, the front motor handles the bulk of the work. When the accelerator is put to the floor or road conditions call for all-wheel drive traction, the rear motor kicks in.
Electricity is stored in an 80-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack which should enable 200 miles of range on a single charge. The EQC’s rivals include the 240-mile Jaguar I-Pace and the 204-mile Audi E-Tron. New competition (in the form of the BMW iX3 and Tesla Model Y) is due in 2020.
Motorbike-hailing firm Gojek, others to start test runs in Malaysia
Malaysia will allow motorcycle-hailing firms such as Indonesia’s Gojek and local start-up Dego Ride to start operations on a limited scale from January 2020, Malaysia’s transport minister said on Tuesday.
Gojek – whose backers include Alphabet’s Google and Chinese tech companies Tencent and JD.com – and Dego Ride will start operating based on a proof-of-concept basis to measure demand for the service over six months, Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said.
“Bike hailing will be an important component in providing a comprehensive public transport system, as a mode for first- and last-mile connectivity,” Loke told parliament.
The pilot project would be limited to the Klang Valley, Malaysia’s most developed region and where the capital Kuala Lumpur is located, although the government would consider expanding it to other areas if there was demand, reports Reuters.
The six-month, proof-of-concept pilot programme would allow the government and participating firms to gather data and evaluate demand, while the government worked on drafting legislation to govern bike-hailing.
“Bike-hailing will be subject to similar regulations as laid out for e-hailing,” the minister said, referring to existing ride-hailing operations by companies such as Grab.
Gojek did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but its co-chief executive, Andre Soelistyo, told reporters on Saturday that the company was preparing expansion into Malaysia and the Philippines.
“It is our dream for the next year. The services that we have in Indonesia can be opened in other countries quickly. We leave (it) to the leader of the countries to choose,” Soelistyo said.
In March, Philippines regulators upheld a decision to refuse Gojek a licence due to its failure to meet local ownership criteria, but Soelistyo said they would build the business on their payment system already set up in the country.
Gojek’s impending entry into Malaysia will likely pose the biggest challenge to Grab, which took the lion’s share of the nation’s e-hailing market after it bought over Uber Technology Inc’s operations in Southeast Asia last year.
Grab, which is backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, has struggled to adapt to new regulations requiring all ride-hailing drivers to apply for specific licences, permits and insurance, and have their vehicles and health checked.
Grab Malaysia said in October that only 52% of its driver-partners were licensed under the regulations that took effect the same month.
“Bring it on! It is indeed healthy competition,” Grab Malaysia said on Twitter after the minister’s announcement.
Peugeot, Fiat agree to $50bn merger
France’s PSA, which owns Peugeot, and Fiat Chrysler have agreed to pursue a merger that would create the world’s fourth-largest carmaker and reshape the automotive sector.
PSA and FCA said their boards had agreed to “work towards” a tie-up that would give shareholders of each group 50 per cent ownership in the new entity.
“Both boards have given the mandate to their respective teams to finalise the discussions. . . in the coming weeks,” said the two companies on Thursday morning after board meetings the evening before.
The deal would create a company with revenues of €170 billion, recurring operating profit of more than €11 billion and combined vehicle sales of 8.7 million, putting it ahead of General Motors and Hyundai-Kia in sales. In Europe, the company’s sales would even outpace Volkswagen, which has historically dominated the region’s industry.
At the current market prices, the combined entity is worth just under €43.4 billion (about $50 billion).
Adjusting for the difference in market cap and the dividend paid to respective shareholders, achieving a 50-50 shareholding suggests PSA is paying a 32 per cent premium to assume control of FCA
A memorandum of understanding giving further detail is expected in two to three weeks, with final details expected to be nailed down around the end of the year, said people familiar with the timing.
While FCA shares soared 8.7 per cent, PSA shares fell 12.8 per cent with analysts at Citi pointing to the lack of a cash payout: “On balance, the terms of the deal favours existing FCA shareholders (who benefit from a cash distribution equivalent to 30 per cent of the market cap), while Groupe PSA shareholders are being asked to remain patient.”
In order to balance the value of the two companies, PSA will distribute its 46 per cent stake in parts maker Faurecia to shareholders, worth €2.7 billion at Wednesday’s close, analysts said.
FCA shareholders will receive a €5.5 billion cash payout and proceeds from the sale of its robot-making Comau unit, estimated at between €200 million and €300 million.
The two companies intend to forge a 50-50 all-stock merger in which PSA chief executive Carlos Tavares runs the business and FCA chairman John Elkann — the scion of Italy’s Agnelli family, which controls FCA — becomes chairman. Mr. Tavares would have an initial mandate of five years.
“Adjusting for the difference in market cap and the dividend paid to respective shareholders, achieving a 50-50 shareholding suggests PSA is paying a 32 per cent premium to assume control of FCA,” said Philippe Houchois, an auto analyst at Jefferies.
Mike Manley, chief executive of FCA, is likely to be named as the number two, with responsibility for the Americas region, said two people.
FCA on Thursday disclosed it made a net loss of €179 million last quarter, because of €1.4 billion impairment over its European and Alfa Romeo businesses. Stripped out, the company made €1.3bn of profit, including record profits and margins in its North American heartland.
Earlier in the day, the two companies outlined that the proposed combined 11-person board will comprise six members appointed by PSA, including Mr. Tavares, and five members appointed by FCA.
The combined group will be based in the Netherlands, a neutral location, where FCA is domiciled, and will be listed in Paris, Milan and New York. It will “continue to maintain significant presences in the current operating head-office locations in France, Italy and the US”.
Nissan Motor may axe Datsun brand –Report
Nissan Motor Co Ltd is likely to axe its Datsun brand, drop some unprofitable products and close a number of assembly lines worldwide as it seeks to boost profits by getting smaller, two company sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Known internally as the “performance recovery plan”, the proposed steps mark a sharp break with Nissan’s strategy under ousted leader Carlos Ghosn, who pursued ambitious vehicle sales targets in the United States and other major markets.
The plan is the Yokohama-based automaker’s latest attempt to pull itself out of crisis after Ghosn was arrested for financial misconduct – charges he denies. The scandal has further strained an already dysfunctional alliance with Renault SA and thrown Nissan into disarray as it finds itself on course to book its lowest operating profit in 11 years.
The sources said Nissan will likely kill loss-making variants for the Titan full-size pickup. Unprofitable variants include the single-cab and diesel versions.
A planned shuttering of under-utilised production lines will most probably hit plants in emerging markets building Datsun and other small cars hardest, they added.
“We need to chart a recovery but the rot goes deep,” one of the sources said of the many problems facing Nissan.
The second source said all markets with factories except China were being looked at for possible reductions in production capacity. That source also said, however, that there were no plans to close an entire plant or withdraw completely from any country.
In the United States, one of Nissan’s biggest markets, the plan calls for fresh efforts to weed out the practice of buying market share by selling vehicles to rental car and other fleet operators at heavy discounts – a practice which destroyed profitability and undermined Nissan’s brand image.
“We’re trying to clean up what had happened in the past,” one of the sources said, adding that under Ghosn, Nissan sought to meet sales objectives at any cost, including “practically giving away cars” to fleet customers.
A team led by Jun Seki, a senior vice president and incoming vice chief operating officer, is expected to unveil the wide-ranging plan this month though some aspects are still being finalised, said the sources, who were not authorised to speak to media and declined to be identified.
FRSC: Operation show your permanent drivers license begins tomorrow
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos Sector Command said it will from tomorrow commence enforcement of use of permanent drivers license by motorists in the state. The Command stated this in statement at the weekend signed by the Acting Sector Public Education Officer, DRC Olabisi Sonusi on behalf of the Sector Commander, Hyginus Omeje.
The statement read in part: “As part of activities lined up towards 2019 Ember Month patrol will from Monday, November 4, 2019 embark on a special patrol code named “Operation Show Your Drivers License Phase 2.” It disclosed that the special patrol is aimed at addressing the high incidences of driving without permanent valid drivers’ license in Lagos, saying the operation will last for two weeks.
It further said that the operation necessary in view of the fact that “most motorists who applied for licenses never care to go back to the licensing offices to collect their permanent license. Consequently, we have a total of 61,221 uncollected permanent drivers’ license across the state yet to be collected.” The statement further indicated that the Mr. Omeje frowned at the attitude of some drivers driving without valid license which is the only legal document that permit anyone to drive on Nigerian roads. It added that the fine for driving without a valid license is N10, 000 if the offender cannot produce the license within 24 hours.
Audi abandons air taxi plans
udi has suspended work on its Pop.Up air taxi and has put its partnership with Airbus to develop the vehicle up for review.
Audi said it is working on a fresh direction for its urban air mobility activities as part of its new strategy announced in May.
“At present we are working on a new direction for our urban air mobility activities and have not yet made a decision regarding potential future products,” Audi said in a statement to Automotive News Europe.
Audi said it had stopped all work on the Pop.Up concept that was developed by its Italdesign subsidiary with Airbus.
The concept has a flying passenger capsule that sits on top of a car chassis. The idea was to pick up a customer up at home, drive them to a heliport where the car connects with the flight module.
The Pop.Up had a successful trial flight as a scaled down model during Drone Week in Amsterdam last November.
Audi executives said then they wanted to continue with the project. “We want to have fully flightworthy prototype ready by the end of next year, that’s our development goal,” Audi board member Bernd Martens said at the time.
Audi had also planned to test air taxis in Ingolstadt, its German home city.
In the statement, however, Audi reversed course, citing the challenges specific to the project.
“We believe it will be a very long time before an air taxi can be serially produced that does not require passengers to change vehicles. In the modular concept of Pop.Up, we were working on a solution with the highest complexity,” it said.
Airbus declined to comment on the potential end of the partnership. It said the Pop.Up was not envisaged to flank its own CityAirbus and Vahana flying demonstrators.
A number of automakers are working on autonomous flying cars that can be used as taxis and for ride-sharing purposes. They see flying taxis as a mobility solution in crowded urban cities because they can soar above congested roads.
Hope rises on 1,400km East-West railway
ope has risen over the commencement of the East-West rail as indication are that the Russian Government might have agreed to support the development of Nigeria’s rail infrastructure by constructing the 1,400 kilometres track which commences from Lagos and terminates at Calabar.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the development was one of the highpoints of the agreement reached at a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
The bilateral meeting was held on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit, in Sochi, Russia.
Besides, the deal is expected to put China on its toes as the country is the only one saddled with the responsibility of building railway presently in the country, but the coming of Russia could engender competition and enhance quality.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, explained that there was also discussion on the advancement of ongoing project for the establishment of a nuclear power plant in Nigeria.
The document also states that the parties will seek to expand cooperation for the development of the railway industry and the improvement of railway equipment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Russian Railways will determine the extent of its participation in the proposed projects in Nigeria, in particular the Lagos-Calabar railway project and Port Harcourt – Maiduguri railway project, taking into account its technical and personnel resources.
In addition, Russian Railways will offer the directions of development of railway transport systems through the design, construction, management and maintenance of railway infrastructure in Nigeria and the introduction of other modernisation solutions that may be proposed to Nigeria.
According to Putin, the next step in the implementation of the project should be the commencement of construction of a power plant.
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