Could induction motors accelerate the electrification of CVs?, we asked this week. Changes in legislation to electrify vehicles have arguably hit the commercial vehicle (CV) industry the hardest. We spoke to Murray Edington, head of electrified powertrain, Drive System Design (DSD) to learn more about the opportunities and challenges.
Another question: Autonomous driving is a key talking point within the industry, could driver-in-the-loop simulations be the way forward? Autonomous driving is a key talking point within the industry, but as many struggle to master the challenge of its evolution from current ADAS, could Driver-in-the-loop simulations be the way forward? The goal of highly automated and ultimately autonomous driving is a key part of the future ambitions for the automotive industry. On the road to that goal, manufacturers around the world aim to test and fit more advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) into their vehicles. However, due to the unpredictable nature of driving scenarios due to unforeseen circumstances such as pedestrians, cyclists, roadworks, and animals, this is a serious challenge. Founded in 2009, Ansible Motion creates and deploys technology associated with the physical and logical simulation of human directed vehicles. The company offer a range of automotive Driver-in-the-loop (DIL) simulators used by drivers and product development engineers.
Headwinds for the global vehicle market took their toll in April with the market posting an annualised result of just 67 million units. Most major markets remain supply-constrained, with lockdowns in China as well as the war in Ukraine only exacerbating these issues and thus applying downward pressure to global sales activity.In year-on-year (YoY) terms, sales were down a staggering 25%, with all major markets experiencing a contraction. China felt the impact of its zero COVID-19 policy, with over 20% of dealerships closed due to lockdowns, while in the US, inventories remained tight due to global supply problems.
Data from GlobalData unit LMC Automotive shows that the West European annualised car market selling rate dropped to 8.8 million units/year in April, from 9.0 million units/year in March, with supply chain bottlenecks still the key reason for the depressed level of registration statistics. LMC also said the war in Ukraine, as well as lockdowns in China, will likely exacerbate supply issues, meaning vehicle sales will continue to suffer from a lack of adequate supply. Overall car sales in Western Europe declined by 20.9% to 741,006 units. So far this year, sales are 13.7% off last year’s first four months’ pace, at 13.22 million units.
New vehicle sales in Vietnam rose 44% to 38,134 units in April 2022 from 26,409 units a year earlier, according to wholesale data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association (VAMA). Sales last month continued to rebound to new highs against already strong year earlier volume, reflecting some degree of pent-up demand following widespread covid lockdowns last year. The economy expanded 5% year on year in the first quarter of 2022, driven by strong growth in industrial production and exports. Vehicle sales in the first four months of 2022 increased by 33% by 123,931 units from 92,893 a year earlier, with sales of light passenger vehicles surging by 47% to 100,196 units while commercial vehicle sales were down 3% at 23,735 units.
BMW Group claimed to be the first automotive manufacturer to use matt paints made from biomass instead of crude oil at its European plants. Plants in Leipzig and South Africa are also using sustainably produced corrosion protection. Renewable raw materials such as bio-waste or waste from sewage treatment plants serve as the starting material for the paints. The CO2 savings determined in a TUV-certified process amount to over 15,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions between now and 2030. Supplier BASF makes it possible to replace petroleum-based precursors, such as naphtha, with renewable raw materials from organic waste, starting in the early stages of paint production. This reduces consumption of fossil resources and avoids the CO2 emissions associated with the production, transport and processing of crude oil.
Mercedes’ EQ sub-brand continues to grow, while Maybach also has an electric future. Selected future models for two of Mercedes-Benz Group’s three high-priced sub-brands are explored in our latest future models report with a look at the third, AMG, following soon.
Volkswagen has announced plans to revive the Scout brand in the US for a new line of light trucks. What options does VW have for assembly in the US? The brand was used first by International Harvester for its family off roader lineup built from 1961 to 1980 and was since acquired by VW through Traton’s acquisition of Navistar in 2020. Off-road focused SUV and pickup models are enjoying a renaissance in North America, so it’s no coincidence that nameplates including the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer have also made recent reappearances. To capitalise on the concurrent growth in North American EV sales, many of which being built on SUV and pickup platforms, VW’s Scout lineup will be entirely battery powered. Naturally, to tempt American buyers, Scout will field a large electric SUV which the company describes as “rugged”, and a pickup truck, likely based on the same platform – echoing the bodystyle options offered on the original International Scout.
Mercedes Benz has recently announced it will be using Faurecia’s Aptoide technology to power navigation and other vehicle infotainment functions within the company’s vehicles. Formed in 2019, Faurecia-Aptoide is a joint venture between Faurecia and Aptoide, one of the largest independent Android app stores. Mercedes Benz has stated that under a multi-year partnership from 2023 the venture will be split between Faurecia and Aptoide, with the technology integrating with the Mercedes Benz MBUX multimedia system – a platform offering over 200 apps from navigation, streaming and parking information. Expected to launch from 2023, the new partnership will provide a customised app portfolio for Mercedes Benz customers which will be upgraded and refreshed multiple times per year. The embedded Faurecia-Aptoide technology will be used to provide a wide range of infotainment systems for customers, offering a personalised experience.
Grammer has designed a new centre console for the VW Multivan combining lightweight construction with innovative features and operating functions. The gear selector and handbrake have been relocated from the centre tunnel to the instrument panel thanks to a shift by wire system and designers have used the vacated space to install a rail system that runs from the first to the third seat row on which the centre table can be moved freely. “We were able to contribute our expertise in the form of an innovative self locking spring system which we also patented for our customer,” said Juergen Gerl, head of the supplier’s automotive division.
BlackBerry and Magna International have entered into a multi-year agreement to collaborate on various integrated Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) solutions. With OEMs launching vehicles with ever expanded feature sets, the global ADAS market is set for significant growth over the next decade. As part of the agreement, BlackBerry will provide Magna with QNX software including the QNX Software Development Platform, QNX OS for Safety, QNX Platform for ADAS, as well as professional engineering services for system-level integration, performance optimization, and solution validation.
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Have a nice weekend.
Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, Just Auto