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  • EU targets 37.5% reduction in car emissions by 2030

    The European Union has agreed on a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from passenger cars by 37.5% by 2030, paving the way for a stronger zero-emission vehicle push over the next decade.

    The agreement brings to an end the divide among countries in the 28-nation bloc on how strict the continent would be on CO2 reductions, Reuters reports. The European parliament had earlier this year been pushing for a 40% target, but Germany, which has Europe’s largest auto sector, had been lobbying for no more than 30%. It said that a high target could harm its industry and cost jobs. In the end, a compromise was struck.

    Representatives of the European Parliament and EU countries finally struck a compromise, agreeing to a 37.5% reduction for cars and 31% for vans by 2030, compared with 2021. The EU also agreed on an interim target of reducing emissions by 15% for both cars and vans by 2025.

    Despite the progress, the green camp felt there could have been more. Environmental groups said that while it was a positive step, the plan wasn’t ambitious – or fast – enough, with only around a third of new cars being sold by 2030 set to be electric or hydrogen-powered.

    Still, they had more to cheer than automakers, who thought it was too large a step to make. The German association of the automotive industry (VDA) said via a statement that the new regulation would set high demands while doing little to promote or provide incentives for switching to electric vehicles, the report added.

    Separately, Volkswagen said that the targets set by the new EU emissions ruling means that its €30 billion (RM142.95 billion) push on the EV front in the next five years will not be sufficient to cover the needed ground or meet goals. It said it will have to review its planning sometime next year.

  • SPIED: Audi A4 Sedan, Avant facelift seen cold testing

    Remember when Audi announced the facelifted B9 Audi A4 earlier this year? Well, it turns out that the refreshed model was in fact not the midlife update. This fresh set of spy photos however, seem to do the term “facelift” some justice, and the changes are clearly evident even under all that camouflage wrap.

    The facelifted pair were spotted undergoing winter tests in Sweden, wearing a completely new front bumper with a slimmer radiator grille. The headlights are also new, featuring multiple strips of vertically-positioned LED daytime running lights, much like that seen on the e-tron GT concept.

    At the back, the tail lights on the A4 sedan appear to feature new graphics, although the encasing frame remains unchanged. Expect those on the A4 Avant to be new as well. Along with the new tail lights is a revised rear bumper.

    Apparently, word is the A4’s cabin will be widely revamped to look closer to that of the Audi A6. If that were to be true, then expect a dual-screen layout for infotainment duties, HVAC controls, convenience functions and text input. Again, this is merely based on rumours, but with the G20 3 Series and W205 C-Class facelift out in full force, Audi clearly has to flex some muscles here.

    Speaking of muscles, the A4 could benefit from slight powertrain updates when it debuts late next year. If so, expect some form of electrification, possibly with the fitment of the four rings’ 48 volt mild hybrid technology. Here, a belt alternator starter (BAS) works together with a lithium-ion battery (mounted in the back) to allow for coasting at speeds between 55 and 160 km/h.

    GALLERY: 2019 Audi A4 Avant facelift spyshots

    GALLERY: 2019 Audi A4 Sedan facelift spyshots

  • Volvo, KidZania educate 90k children on road safety

    Volvo Trucks, Volvo Cars and KidZania are celebrating two years of a partnership that has helped educate over 90,000 children in road safety.

    Through the partnership, KidZania features a Volvo car dealership in its child-friendly cityscape, where kids roleplay as adults in various professions. In line with Volvo’s vision that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020, children in KidZania learn how to be seated correctly in a car, how to properly use a safety belt, as well as the importance of child seats.

    Over the course of two years, a total of 32,294 children were taught the basics of road safety via the Volvo car dealership in KidZania. “At Volvo, we strive to create a safer future for our children. The best solution we found was education, as the change it could bring in these children’s lives is truly incredible,” said Lennart Stegland, MD of Volvo Car Malaysia.

    Beyond the mini car dealership in KidZania, the partnership also incorporated Volvo Trucks’ hallmark ‘Stop, Look and Wave’ road safety campaign. It was inducted into KidZania Go! and became an integral part of the mobile school outreach programme.

    With Stop, Look and Wave, children around the country experienced what it is like being behind the wheel of a Volvo truck. They attended classroom sessions in a specially converted Volvo Trucks trailer, where they learned the importance of identifying blind spots and proper road etiquette. A total of 57,774 kids benefitted from the campaign across 260 schools and 37 community events nationwide.

    “Deaths caused by traffic accidents around the world are well over 1.2 million each year. If nothing is done, this number is expected to increase by 45% in the next 15 years. Volvo is committed to our vision of ‘Zero Accidents’. Aside from pioneering technology that helps save lives, we also believe that road safety education, especially among children, can truly make a difference,” said Mitch Peden, MD of Volvo Trucks Malaysia.

    In addition to school visits, Volvo also helped underprivileged children by providing them an opportunity to learn outside the classroom. Together, both Volvo divisions sponsored a total of 1,600 people (including kids and their teachers) to KidZania between January and November 2018.

    As a result of the school outreach, Volvo Malaysia has extended its road safety efforts at the requests of communities, associations and collaborations with governmental agencies. Organisations can contact Volvo Trucks Malaysia to request for Volvo road safety activities.

  • Jaguar Land Rover develops auto doors for disabled

    Jaguar Land Rover has announced the development of self-opening car doors, which open automatically when the car senses a driver approaching, or via gesture control. The so-called mobility door prototype, currently being trialled on a Range Rover Sport, is said to be able to help disabled people who use a car as their primary mode of transport.

    According to the British conglomerate, as many as a third of those people report practical difficulties in their daily usage, so small, useful technologies like this could make a big difference to their lives. The company says the system could also benefit those carrying child seats or larger items into the car, as they would no longer need to free a hand to open a door.

    Developed on a laboratory rig over the course of six months, the system uses motion sensors and existing keyless entry technology to detect an approaching driver or passenger and open the door. Radar sensors prevent the doors from bumping into lamp posts and other obstacles.

    Once inside, occupants can close the doors either with an overhead button (without needing to pull the door shut), or through a dedicated screen in the infotainment system that also shows the status of each door. The system can also be programmed to close and lock the doors as you walk away.

    To trial the system, the company is working with gold medal-winning Invictus athlete Mark Ormrod, a former Royal Marine and Britain’s first triple amputee from the war in Afghanistan.

    “This innovative technology would be such a benefit to me and has real power to change lives for those who face problems getting in and out of the car,” Ormrod said. “Opening and closing the car door may seem like such an insignificant task to many people but sometimes it’s the small, everyday obstacles which people take for granted that are most frustrating to overcome for those living with disabilities.”

    Of course, powered doors are nothing new, fitted to cars like the Rolls-Royce Phantom and the Tesla Model X. But this system is notable as it’s developed with the disabled in mind.

  • MINI JCW facelift gets updated with particulate filter

    MINI has introduced the updated MINI John Cooper Works Hatch and Convertible, now featuring a petrol particulate filter that’s integrated into the sports exhaust system. This helps meet the strict Euro 6d-TEMP and WLTP emissions standards, all without compromising performance and fuel efficiency.

    Both JWC models will be the first to be equipped with petrol particulate filters, with production set to begin in March 2019. With that, all of MINI’s petrol models will feature particulate filters as part of their exhaust technology, therefore reducing particulate matter emissions across the range. Besides regulating emissions, the petrol particulate filter also ensures a characteristic sound inside and outside the vehicle.

    To recap, the Mini JCW is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine making 231 hp and 320 Nm (the Cooper S makes 192 hp and 280 Nm). With a six-speed manual, the Hatch sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds (6.1 seconds with the eight-speed Steptronic auto), whereas the Convertible gets there in 6.6 seconds. For fuel consumption, the JCW Hatch averages at 6.0 litres per 100 km.

    Besides the new particulate filter, no other changes have been made to the cars. Order books for the updated MINI JCW in the UK will commence from January 18, 2019. Deliveries will start later in March.

  • Cabbies say Big Blue Taxi’s Shamsubahrin not their rep, want contents of meeting with minister revealed

    Last month, it was announced that all Grab and e-hailing drivers will have to undergo the Public Service Vehicle (PSV) course and get the PSV license, as required for taxi drivers. The period to comply is from January to July 2019. Vehicles over three years old will also have to undergo inspection.

    That was announced by transport minister Anthony Loke as part of the government’s move to regulate the e-hailing industry and create a level playing field with taxis. Taxi groups have long complained about the ease of which one can be an e-hailing driver, with no need to comply to the regulations that they are subject to.

    Before the announcement, Loke met with Big Blue Taxi adviser Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail (pix above) – one of the most vocal individuals championing taxi rights – at parliament to discuss issues. Now, a group of claiming to be the rightful representatives of the taxi driver community has criticised Shamsubahrin for claiming to be their spokesman, Malay Mail reports.

    The group that calls itself Gabungan Teksi SeMalaysia (GTSM) held a gathering at Padang Merbok in KL this morning. They want to know what was discussed between Loke and Shamsubahrin, threatening action if they are kept out of the loop.

    Shamsubahrin (centre) at a taxi driver protest in Putrajaya

    “Who are you? We are the real taxi drivers and we are the ones who should meet Anthony. This guy, Datuk Shamsubahrin, he is not a representative for taxis. We are disputing why Anthony Loke asked Shamsubahrin to meet him to represent us taxi drivers,” said Fazli Fathil, president of the Elite Driver Kuala Lumpur group, an association under GTSM.

    “What you promised and discussed, we have no idea. If nothing is done in 14 days, we will make a petition and hand a report to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the meeting and its contents,” he threatened.

    According to MM, the meeting between Loke and Shamsubahrin was seen as a move to pacify the latter, who had at that time threatened to organise a mass gathering of taxi drivers in protest of e-hailing laws the government had passed.

    Separately, more than 100 taxi and rental car drivers gathered in Penang this morning for a protest against e-hailing services, The Star reports. The group’s spokesman C. Supramaniam urged the government to ensure a level playing field between taxis and private cars.

    “The current situation has greatly affected our livelihood. Now, in a day, we are only able to make between RM30 to RM40 from an entire day of work. How are we suppose to survive?” he said to reporters at Bagan Luar. The group wants regulation to be imposed on Grab drivers as applied on taxi drivers.

  • Malaysia to host first Asia GT Festival as part of China GT Championship – March 15 to 17, 2019

    Malaysia will play host to the first Asia GT Festival as part of the 2019 China GT Championship, from March 15 to 17 at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). The first event in the series to be held outside China, the race will see the participation of over 30 GT cars from around the world, all battling for a slice of the championship’s RMB9 million (RM5.45 million) prize money pool.

    The inaugural event is a precursor to a five-year deal between series organiser Goldenport Enterprises and Malaysian property developer Country Heights to host the race, with SIC to remain the venue throughout the duration of the partnership.

    Visitors can expect the usual purpose-built GT3 and GT4 machinery racing as part of the championship, as well as support races from the Malaysia Speed Festival. The latter will be adding races featuring the Proton Saga Cup (in which China GT racers themselves will participate) and Race Car Open categories to the event, with the winners of the Race Car Open class in particular getting a chance to test for one of the China GT teams – and the possibility of a race seat.

    “Through the Asia GT Festival, we want to grow Malaysians’ exposure to a different kind of four-wheeled motorsport racing. Besides that, our other objective of hosting the race is to provide aspiring Malaysian racers the opportunity to be part of an internationally renowned racing event,” said Country Heights executive director Matahari Lee, adding that the event is a step forward for the company and the MINES Car City Centre towards developing the country’s automotive and motorsports industry.

    Goldenport Enterprises founder Jim Ye said, “Since last year, we have been planning to broaden the appeal of China GT to the region and Malaysia is the best place to start because there are many passionate motorsports fans here. We are thrilled to be here in Kuala Lumpur which is a city with a rich culture and exciting opportunities. This is an exciting time for us and our partner Country Heights to see Malaysia as the highlight of the China GT racing calendar.”

    Tickets for the Asia GT Festival are now available for purchase via either the MotoNation Facebook page or its official website, with prices ranging from RM20 to RM350.

  • Hyundai Santa Fe with fingerprint unlocking for China

    Malaysian preview unit shown.

    The latest Hyundai Santa Fe comes equipped with a fingerprint-enabled unlocking and starting system – as long as it is for the China market. For this market, the vehicle itself is 16 cm longer than the domestic South Korean model, and will go on sale in China sometime in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Korea Herald.

    As with the Santa Fe meant for overseas markets, the one bound for China will also get the Rear Occupant Alert – which uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect the movements of children and pets – in order to safeguard against forgotten occupants in the second row.

    The security system will enable multiple users to register their fingerprint data for the same vehicle, according to Hyundai, which will make it more accessible to members of the same household, for example. This data can then tailor certain settings to the driver, such as the position of the seat and the rear-view mirrors. Future updates could extend personalisation to air-conditioning and steering settings, the automaker adds.

    The fingerprint sensor uses capacitance for identification, as it differentiates between electricity levels on different parts of the finger. This is to prevent hacking or faked fingerprints, according to Engadget. The system will receive users’ encrypted fingerprint data before unlocking the car, and has an error rate of one in 50,000, according to Hyundai.

    Other modern electronic conveniences for the China-market Santa Fe include a Baidu voice recognition system and a wireless mobile device charger. Elsewhere, fingerprint recognition has already been applied to cars, though this is the first that has been integrated into the door handle.

    GALLERY: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2D AWD

  • Government has no plans to reintroduce RON 92 petrol

    The government says it will not reintroduce the sale of RON 92 petrol, despite many requests for it to do so, Bernama reports. This is because of the non-environmentally friendly levels of sulphur in the fuel, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said.

    He said while there had been many requests for its reintroduction to help ease the rakyat’s financial burden, the government is continuing to offer RON 95 and RON 97 petrol because of their lower sulphur levels.

    “The lower the sulphur content, the higher the cost of the fuel. RON 92 is cheaper because of the higher sulphur content. However, as a nation bound by the international protocol (pertaining to the environment), we are required to comply with the schedule to move towards the use of fuel containing less sulphur. For now, our policy is to retain RON 95 and RON 97,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

    He added that reverting to RON 92 would also go against progress from an automotive viewpoint, with modern engines being designed to operate on higher quality fuel. Last year, some consumer associations called for the return of RON 92 petrol – which was discontinued in 2009 and replaced by the current RON 95 as the default petrol grade – to offset the rising cost of living.

  • New Porsche 718 T – Boxster and Cayman stripped

    Porsche has revealed the new Porsche 718 Boxster T and the 718 Cayman T. As in the 911 T of 1968, the ‘T’ stands for ‘Touring’ in Porsche models, and is synonymous with driving pleasure in its purest form – the new duo is most at home on winding country roads, Zuffenhausen says.

    The same recipe used for last year’s Porsche 911 Carrera T – base engine, manual, stripped of unnecessary equipment, performance-enhacing added – is being repeated here for the 718 T range. It’s powered by the base 2.0 litre turbo flat-four engine with 300 PS and 380 Nm, paired to a six-speed manual gearbox (PDK dual-clutch automatic is an option) and Porsche Torque Vectoring.

    The 1,350 kg (PDK adds 30 kg to that) 718 T accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds if you row the gears yourself, or 4.7 seconds with a PDK. Top speed is 275 km/h, but this model isn’t really about bare figures – there’s a lot of goodies for the enthusiast who’s not merely after sprint times or big horsepower.

    The Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) sports chassis that lowers the car by 20 mm is being offered with the base engine for the first time here. The equipment package also includes 20-inch alloys, a shortened gearshift (red markings on the knob) and the Sport Chrono package. The latter offers Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual driving modes, which can be selected from a steering wheel switch.

    Sport and Sport Plus activate sportier characteristics in both the engine management and the accelerator, with the automatic dual-clutch function supporting the driver as you move down the gears in the manual gearbox. Sport Plus turns on a sportier configuration of the PASM, Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) adaptive body positioning and the PDK, if the latter is specified. PDK also adds Launch Control and Sport Response button functions.

    The PADM dynamic gearbox mount minimises vibrations in the engine/gearbox area and reduces movements that could affect driving dynamics. Porsche says it combines the advantages of hard and soft gearbox mounts: driving behaviour becomes noticeably more precise and stable during changes in load and on fast curves, while comfort is unaffected on uneven roads.

    Besides the visual impact of the 20-inch rims (in high-gloss titanium grey) and lowered body, the 718 T duo sport Agate grey mirror shells and ‘718 Boxster T’ or ‘718 Cayman T’ lettering on the bottom of the doors. Logos are repeated on the rear, which also has a central sports exhaust with black, chrome-plated twin pipes.

    Unlike the exterior, the cabin has a pared down theme featuring door pulls and a big hole in the centre stack. Lightweight is cool, but we reckon that most owners will be opting for the Porsche Communication Management module that can be fitted at no extra charge. If you’re wondering, there’s no net savings, but these measures balance out the additional weight from the new gasoline particulate filter.

    The sports seats have electric two-way adjustment, black Sport-Tex centre sections and the ‘718’ logo embroidered on the headrests. The steering wheel is a 360 mm GT sports item with leather and Mode switch. Boxster/Cayman T logos can found on the black dials and door entry strips.

    There’s a bonus – on top of the model-specific touches, Porsche says that adjusted for equipment, 718 T buyers enjoy a price advantage of 5-10% compared to a similarly equipped base Boxster/Cayman. This is my kind of 718, but is it yours? Check out the standard car (Boxster here, Cayman here) and the higher performance GTS and decide.


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Last Updated 01 Dec 2018


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