Beecham's Tech-Talk

Beecham's Tech-Talk

By: Matthew Beecham

Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.

Interior design and technology – Mercedes-Benz E-Class

24 Oct 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Launched in 2016, the fifth generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class takes design cues from the larger S-Class and smaller C-Class. It also comes bristling with semi-autonomous driving technology. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we slip inside an E-Class estate to take a closer look.

Automotive industry slow to embrace D&I-related changes – report

17 Oct 2018 | Matthew Beecham

A recently published report* sets out a fresh view of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the automotive industry. To learn more, we spoke to Lynda Ennis, founder of specialist automotive search firm, Ennis & Co and co-author the report. Here, she explains the importance of this initiative and why starting a new conversation about D&I is long overdue.

Interior design and technology – Ford Mustang

15 Oct 2018 | Matthew Beecham

It is America’s best-selling sports car of the last five decades and the world’s best-selling sports car three years straight. Ford launched its facelifted Mustang earlier this year, introducing some styling tweaks, safety upgrades and other technology enhancements. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we slip inside to see what makes it such a popular choice.

Harman, JD Power to reveal consumer habits in the connected car

1 Oct 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Today’s vehicles offer a myriad of features and services but understanding how and if these are being used by consumers isn’t often truly understood by OEMs. With ever-increasing connectivity, it is now possible to acquire data about the vehicle’s performance and how it is being used, but how to access this information and its relevance is in the early stages. A new project between Harman and J.D. Power claims it can change this and provide OEMs and Tier Ones with an insight that could make cars safer, more relevant or offer a better user experience. We spoke to Sandip Ranjhan, Senior Vice President, Harman Connected Services about the alliance and its expectations for the project.

‘Digital camshaft’ gives engines an efficiency boost

26 Sep 2018 | Matthew Beecham

A British company has developed a digital valvetrain drive system that, it claims, can give petrol engines a diesel-level of efficiency and fuel economy with much lower NOx emissions. The inventors believe that it is as big a leap forward as the introduction of electronically-controlled ignition and the change from carburettors to fuel injection. To learn more about this engine valve technology, we caught up with Mark Gostick, Chief Operating Officer of Camcon Automotive.

Interior design and technology – Kia Sorento

24 Sep 2018 | Matthew Beecham

When Kia launched its third-generation seven-seater Sorento in 2015, it coincided with the second phase of the carmaker’s coming of age; shifting it from a purely value-driven company into a world-class manufacturer of premium-quality cars. A recent face-lift saw new instrumentation, active safety features and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Sounds good but does it really put Kia on a par with Audi? Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a look inside the latest incarnation to see how it has transformed the brand.

Interior design and technology – Ford S-Max

18 Sep 2018 | Matthew Beecham

When Ford launched its seven-seater S-Max a decade ago - calling it a ‘sports activity vehicle’ to differentiate it from the larger Galaxy - competing models were thin on the ground.  Yet the second and current generation S-Max has lots of contenders with a stadium-style seating design. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside the ST-Line to see what makes it stand out from the crowd.

Interior design and technology – Range Rover Velar

29 Aug 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Designed and engineered at JLR’s development centres in the UK, the Range Rover Velar plugs a gap between the Evoque and Sport. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this mid-size SUV to see what differentiates it from its siblings.

Autonomous vehicles, series 3, episode 6 – Around the corner or still on the horizon?

17 Aug 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are rarely out of the media spotlight. The Next Big Thing, we often hear, will open up ‘endless possibilities’ as we travel from A to B. Yet with so much drama (and hype) around the vision of self-driving cars, it’s sometimes difficult to separate fantasy from reality or even gain a real sense how soon we could share one. Continuing just-auto/QUBE's series of research snapshots, this one covers recent auto industry activity in the AV arena, specifically supplier innovations, partnerships and acquisitions.

Williams revs up the EV market

13 Aug 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Williams Advanced Engineering is the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group. It specialises in advanced lightweight materials, hybrid power systems and electronics, aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics, and holistic integration capabilities. We caught up with company executives to learn more about its latest projects, advances in hybrid battery systems, electric vehicles and lightweight solutions.

ZF VP on tomorrow’s electronic braking systems

8 Aug 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The apparently simple issue of braking continues to be a major issue for chassis system designers. Drivers are, of course, concerned that in an emergency their semi- and ultimately fully-automated vehicle should stop as quickly as possible. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one component suppliers, we spoke to Manfred Meyer, Senior Vice President global braking systems for ZF Active and Passive Safety Technology Division, to learn about tomorrow’s electronic braking systems.

Interior design and technology – Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

7 Aug 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Unveiled at the 2017 Geneva motor show, the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV appeared in UK car showrooms earlier this year. The carmaker has high hopes for this model but how will it fare against the likes of the Ford Escape and VW Tiguan? Time will tell but early indications are that this medium-sized crossover is proving popular. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside.

Valeo VP on future mobility solutions

6 Aug 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Partial driver autonomy already exists in the form of automated parking systems and advanced driver assistance features. For its part, Valeo is pushing back the technical boundaries of automation to address increasingly complex urban driving situations. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one component suppliers, we spoke to Guillaume Devauchelle, Group Vice President Innovation & Scientific Development, Valeo about its driver assistance and mobility solutions.

Could this ‘breakthrough’ in energy storage disrupt the EV market?

30 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

A French startup, spun off from the nuclear industry, is using nanotechnology to make the next generation of battery. NAWA Technologies’ Ultra Fast Carbon Battery is a carbon-based ultracapacitor that is claimed to be five times more powerful than existing ultracapacitors. Based near Marseille, the company is also developing 'structural batteries’, using the same nanotechnology to turn ordinary items into objects that can hold charge e.g. a smartphone case or a window frame. To learn more about how this green and clean tech could rapidly charge an EV, we spoke to Ulrik Grape, CEO of NAWA Technologies and Pascal Boulanger, COO and Founder of NAWA Technologies. 

Webasto on development of sunroofs and convertible roof systems

19 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Webasto’s core competencies include development, production and sales of sunroofs, panoramic roofs, convertible roofs and parking heaters. With electric heating systems, charging solutions and battery systems, the supplier is also addressing the growth market of electromobility. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one suppliers, we spoke to Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board, Webasto SE about the company’s roof systems business.

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