Daimler's Kallenius electrifies the week

By Graeme Roberts | 13 October 2017

Ola Kallenius thoughts on Daimler electrification attracted a lot of readers this week

Ola Kallenius' thoughts on Daimler electrification attracted a lot of readers this week

Our report on Ola Kallenius, Daimler's group research chief, outlining the major elements of the group's powertrain and electrification strategy drew an extraordinary number of your eyeballs this week. He talked about a three-lane drive system strategy: focusing on highly efficient high tech combustion engines, systematic hybridisation and battery electric or fuel cell drive. And he thinks combustion engines will still be around for a long time to come. "In the year 2025 we are looking at a sales share of up to 25% for purely battery-electric cars. This automatically means that at least 75% will still have a combustion engine on board - also combined with electric, naturally." Have a read.

A spot of analysis of a vehicle maker's architectures and future model plans always goes down a treat and this week's scrutiny of Toyota small car specialist Daihatsu was no exception. Having withdrawn from Europe, China and Australia, which followed a long-ago exit from the US, Daihatsu has increasingly turned its focus not just on the home market, but towards certain other countries in Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia being two of the main ones. Even though Toyota dominates in what is the world's fourth most populous nation (2016 estimate: 261m), little Daihatsu supplies its major shareholder with much know how. Indonesia's best selling Avanza MPV is for example, based on the Daihatsu Xenia.

Another very popular read this week: Continuing just-auto/QUBE's series of interviews with tier one suppliers, we spoke to Marcus Parche, executive vice president, Robert Bosch Automotive Steering, about steering technologies for different levels of driver autonomy, user experience test results, steer by wire and further market potential for electric power steering.

Brexit, where the negotations are turning into a bit of a circus and the words "walk away" are being heard more often and more loudly in the UK, is never far way from the news, as in our report Toyota plans to build the next generation Auris car at its UK plant in Burnaston but has yet to make a final decision. The decision apparently rests on the assumption that the UK government will secure a so-called 'transitional' Brexit deal with a final decision is due to be made by the end of the year. Toyota told us there were 'no imminent decisions to take on our UK manufacturing businesses' but also stressed the importance for competitiveness of continued tariff and barrier free market access between the UK and Europe. Hmmm, we may be in NAFTA instead, just one of the recent suggestions if Eurocrats don't start playing ball soon.

Deutsche Post DHL is up to a lot with electric vehicles (with Ford), as we've previously reported, and this week came news it is planning to deploy a test fleet of autonomous drive (AD) delivery trucks - some 3,400 vehicles - starting in 2018. As part of the plans, ZF and NVIDIA will partner to supply key technologies. DPDHL will outfit its electric light trucks with the ZF Pro AI self-driving system, based on NVIDIA DRIVE PX technology, for automating package transportation and delivery, including the "last mile" of deliveries. Taking packages from a central point to their final destination is considered the most complex and costliest aspect of courier and e-commerce deliveries, NVIDIA says. One to watch.

Which leads on nicely to: Autonomous vehicle interiors – what can we expect? Retracting steering wheels, reconfigurable dashboards, Star Trek swivelling seats and entire windscreens that transform into head-up displays are a common vision of the autonomous car. When an SAE Level 5 car becomes a social (or empty) space that neither needs nor wants your help, what can we really expect? We tell ya.

Following last week's news of a plug-in hybrid version of the Range Rover Sport, it was only a matter of time before Tata Motor's JLR announced same for the Range Rover flagship and, along with a revamped interior, they duly did.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com