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 – 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.


Magna Exteriors makes an impact with front-end modules

18 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

What is a front-end module? It depends on who makes it and for whom. Front-end modules (FEMs) typically encompass the bumper, headlights, radiator and various others parts. The benefits to the automaker from sourcing complete FEMs are clear: they can help cut the number of operations on the assembly line, reduce vehicle weight, cut tooling costs and improve working capital. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with component suppliers, we caught up with Rob Selle, Global Product Line Director, FEM, Fascia & Trim, Magna Exteriors, a front-runner serving the FEMs market.


Interior design and technology – Fiat 500L

16 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The Fiat 500L MPV was launched in the UK in 2013, receiving a facelift in 2017 when 40 per cent of the components were replaced. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside the cavernous 500L to see what’s new.


Valeo on tomorrow’s climate control systems

16 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Cabin comfort is a given for motorists nowadays. The trend for multizone air-conditioning systems enables automakers to offer more comfort features. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one component suppliers, we spoke to executives of Valeo’s Thermal Systems division to learn more about such trends, regulatory drivers and its recent climate control system innovations.


The science of sound - How Harman is striking a chord in the small car segment

11 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Designing and developing a car audio system for a certain model is a complex process. Hitting the right note in the small car segment is particularly challenging for acoustic engineers with lots of things to consider. Changing the seat material alone can alter the acoustics in an otherwise identical cabin. Audio specialist Harman has worked closely with Ford to develop a premium sound upgrade for the new Fiesta. To learn more, we spoke to Greg Sikora, Harman ‘Golden Ear’ and Senior Manager, Head of Acoustic Systems Engineering Europe, Car Audio, and Stefan Varga, Harman ‘Golden Ear’ and Senior System Engineer Acoustic, Car Audio at Harman International.


Magna lifts the lid off the car roof systems market

9 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Magna covers the entire spectrum of vehicle roof systems. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one component suppliers, we caught up with Uwe Behrendt, Director Sales, Magna Closures & Magna Car Top Systems to discuss trends in sunroofs, convertibles, solar technology and alternative lightweight glazing.


Interior design and technology – Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

9 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The Suzuki SX4, a compact crossover developed jointly by Suzuki and Fiat, was launched in 2006. At the 2012 Paris motor show, Suzuki unveiled its S-Cross concept and broadcast that it would be a new model, not a replacement for the SX4. Six months later the SX4 S-Cross, loosely based on the S-Cross concept, appeared at the Geneva motor show and received a facelift in 2016. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we peer inside this small SUV to see what makes it shine in a crowded market.



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