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 – Kia Niro

9 Apr 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Hybrid sales in the UK and mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and show no signs of easing. The Kia Niro – the Korean carmaker’s third plug-in hybrid after the Optima and Optima Sportswagon - slots into this blossoming market place. Continuing just-auto/AIC's review of interior design and technology trends, we slip inside this compact crossover to see if this is just another small SUV or something different.

Online car buying boom shows no signs of easing

30 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Although the pandemic has triggered a rise of online car buying activity, it confirms to some that latent demand was there all along and consumers just needed an easy-to-use, seamless system to make big ticket purchases. To learn more, we caught up with Tim Smith, Chief Commercial Officer at automotive eCommerce specialist, GForces.

Revving up for EVs - Q&A with Saietta

26 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Saietta has engineered a breakthrough in electric propulsion motors for all vehicles from scooters to buses. It recently received funding from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) enabling them to fast-track the production process and create 250 jobs. To learn more, we spoke to Wicher Kist, CEO of Saietta.

Selling silence - transforming the cabin into a quiet bubble

23 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Israel-based Silentium has developed an active noise cancellation solution capable of lowering unwanted cabin noise peaks by 10dB and overall noise levels by 3-4dB – the equivalent of turning down the in-car sound system by four steps. JLR was the first carmaker to integrate this active acoustics software, installing it in the Jaguar F-Pace, XF and Range Rover Velar. To learn more about the whys and wherefores, Matthew Beecham had a quiet word with Anthony Manias, Head of Automotive, Silentium.

Interior design and technology – Hyundai Ioniq Electric

22 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

On launch back in 2016, the Hyundai Ioniq offered three electrified powertrains – a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric. Since then, the Korean automaker has offered an upgrade incorporating more connectivity, infotainment, driver assistance, and, crucially, a beefed-up battery for its all-electric version. Continuing just-auto/AIC’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this no-nonsense five-door rewired hatch.

Transitioning from ICE to EV production – Q&A with ABB

17 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

As the auto industry shifts from ICE power to EVs, manufacturers face opportunities and challenges on a number of levels. To learn more about the ins and outs, and how existing vehicle production lines can be adapted to suit, we spoke to Joerg Reger of robotics and automation specialist ABB.

Interior design and technology – Honda CR-V

15 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Honda defines CR-V as ‘Compact Recreational Vehicle’ while others regard it as a ‘Comfortable Runabout Vehicle’. While the fifth and latest generation model won’t set pulses racing, it can be relied on as a practical, family-friendly car. Continuing just-auto/AIC’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside this worldwide best seller.

Interior design and technology – SEAT Leon

3 Mar 2021 | Matthew Beecham

The fourth and latest generation SEAT Leon is the first for the brand that integrates a plug-in hybrid system as well as mild hybrid technology. Continuing just-auto/AIC’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look at this Spanish family hatchback.

Redesigning the automotive retail experience - Q&A with ZeroLight

25 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

There are some in the auto industry who believe that the rise of digital solutions within the new car buying journey will lead to the ‘agency model’ approach, where dealers become ‘agents’ who act on behalf of the OEM, with sales conducted directly between the OEM and the customer. Among them is ZeroLight, a digital visual effects specialist based in the northeast of England which began life in the gaming industry. They are working with a number of established automakers, including Volkswagen (ID3), Audi (e-Tron), Cadillac, Pagani, Lamborghini, and new entrant Lucid Motors, in not only enabling online sales but also creating digital solutions that give people the confidence to know exactly what they are buying online. To learn more, we spoke to François de Bodinat, Chief Product Officer at ZeroLight.

Euro vision - Q&A with Apollo Vredestein

24 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Tyres remain a key technology within chassis engineering. Quite apart from the fact that vehicle grip and handling behaviour ultimately depends entirely on the physics and mechanics of what happens within the four tyre contact patches, the tyres also make significant contributions towards determining ride comfort, internal and external vehicle noise, and economy. Continuing just-auto/AIC’s series of interviews, we caught up with Daniele Lorenzetti, Chief Technology Officer for Apollo Tyres Ltd to learn more about some emerging trends in the European tyre market. Apollo Vredestein BV is the European subsidiary of Apollo Tyres Ltd and has its head office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The company manufactures and sells tyres under the Apollo and Vredestein brand name via a network of offices in Europe.

Riding high on coconut shells - Q&A with Carbon Air

15 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

A British materials company is planning further growth of applications for its ‘activated carbon’ air suspension technology following its use on current-generation Audi A6 and A7 models. Activated carbon is formed from organic carbon matter, typically made up of stock like coconut shells or sawdust. To learn more, Matthew Beecham spoke to John Coakley, Carbon Air CTO.

Material matters - Challenges of casting EV and hybrid components

15 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

As vehicles are developed to meet the low emissions targets set around the world, it isn’t just design and functionality which are being stretched: the materials that components are made from are under increasing pressure to perform. We spoke to Keith Denholm, engineering director at Grainger & Worrall (GW) to see how the industry is meeting the challenges posed by electrification, vehicle light-weighting and down-sizing. GW is a specialist in sand casting and metal technology, including metal additive manufacturing. In this interview, we learn more about the challenges of casting EV and hybrid components, such as electric drive units, where integration of several diverse systems leads to complex castings which need to withstand significant torque forces.

Interior design and technology – Kia Ceed

15 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

The introduction of the plug-in hybrid version of the Kia Ceed Sportswagon marks the next step in the Korean carmaker’s electrification strategy. It is manufactured at the brand’s European production facility in Žilina, Slovakia alongside the Ceed five-door hatchback, ProCeed five-door shooting brake, XCeed CUV and conventional petrol and diesel versions of the Ceed SW. Continuing just-auto/AIC’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside.

5G and the digital cockpit – Q&A with Harman

9 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Forget RPM, think EPM (Experiences Per Mile). As mobility shifts, the digital cockpit is evolving, offering vehicle occupants new safety and functional capabilities, along with experiences and entertainment options. During its maiden ExPLORE showcase last month, Harman illustrated how the digital cockpit of the future could deliver EPM through gaming, content creation and in-vehicle concert use cases. To learn more about these and the impact of 5G on the technology, Matthew Beecham caught up with Harman’s Kevin Markell, Senior Director Business Operations, Digital Cockpit SBU.

Interior design and technology – Nissan Leaf

8 Feb 2021 | Matthew Beecham

Since the launch of the Nissan Leaf around a decade ago, a battery of electric vehicles have swiftly and silently emerged in the C-segment. Continuing just-auto/AIC’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside the second-generation model to see what makes it stand out.

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