I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

LeEco and luxury sports car brand Aston Martin today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop the RapidE.

Leading global technology company LeEco and luxury sports car brand Aston Martin today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) towards the creation of a partnership that will develop a production version of the Aston Martin RapidE electric vehicle concept.  
It is anticipated that the partnership will see the two companies working together in developing and manufacturing RapidE, with potential for adding a range of next-generation connected electric vehicles on behalf of Aston Martin, LeEco and Faraday Future.

This new signing extends the existing collaboration between the two companies.  In January 2016, LeEco and Aston Martin revealed the first results of their partnership – an Aston Martin Rapide S incorporating the latest Letv Internet of the Vehicle (IOV) system. 
The second area of the partnership – the development of low-emission vehicle technologies – has been accelerated as they have developed their respective plans for launching a range of new electric vehicles during the second half of the decade. 
The first model developed by this partnership will be the Aston Martin RapidE. The Aston Martin RapidE concept was created to explore how the company can take an existing production vehicle and create an all-electric sports sedan. 
Since the creation of this concept vehicle, Aston Martin and Letv have been advancing the work on production feasibility including the identification of technology solutions for battery systems and powertrain. Both companies are now focused on bringing the RapidE to market in 2018 utilising the best technologies from the companies’ portfolios.
Commenting on the signing of the MOU, Mr. Ding Lei, co-founder and global vice chairman of SEE Plan, said, “Signing of this MOU ushers a new phase of the collaborations between Aston Martin and LeEco. LeEco’s SEE Plan is dedicated to build electric, smart, connected and socialized cars. 
We have been targeting the highest standard in the auto industry in terms of design, R&D and manufacturing of our electric cars. We hope that, by strengthening collaborations with Aston Martin, our future models will provide premium qualities and delicate arts and crafts as good as those of Aston Martin.”
Aston Martin CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said: “Aston Martin are dedicated to developing a range of cars with low emission technologies.  We have been encouraged by the project speed and technical depth shown by Letv in the development of the RapidE concept towards full production. Bringing the RapidE to market by 2018 is an important milestone for both companies.” 

Inspired by the latest Intelligent Park Assist Technology Nissan Presents The First Automated “Intelligent Parking Chair”

Inspired by the latest Intelligent Park Assist Technology Nissan Motor Presents The World's First Automated “Intelligent Parking Chair”

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced the first “Intelligent Parking Chair”, a concept inspired by its intelligent park assist technology that allows drivers to easily park their vehicles using automatic steering.

The “Intelligent Parking Chair” is a unique chair that automatically moves to a set position. The chair includes a roller to automatically move 360 degrees paired with a system that indicates the target position. Four cameras placed on the room’s ceiling generate a bird’s-eye view to wirelessly transmit the chair’s position and its route to destination.
With this innovation in office technology, Japanese businessmen are now freed from the troublesome task of arranging chairs, using this new technology already adopted in Nissan vehicles.      
The Intelligent Parking Chair is a promotional project that materializes Nissan’s corporate vision of “enriching people’s lives through technology”. It was produced in collaboration with the award-winning creative team BIRDMAN. This concept aims at increasing knowledge around the latest technology adopted by Nissan vehicles, while showing how this is slowly changing our daily lives.
The “Intelligent Parking Chair” was inspired from Nissan’s latest “Intelligent Park Assist” technology. The base “Bird’s-eye view” and “Automatic Movement” concepts are also introduced in the Intelligent Parking Chair. Conversely, the surprise and comfort earned from this effortless process can be equally seen in the Intelligent Parking Chair.
The system of the Intelligent Park Assist uses four cameras on the car body (the front, rear, and both wing mirrors). The system converts video footage from the cameras and composites a virtual bird’s-eye view image that allows automatic steering.
The Intelligent Parking Chair also uses four cameras placed on each corner of the room’s ceiling. The cameras will locate the chair’s current position, while the system calculates the chair’s route to return to its original position. 

Some of the MINI range has had revised standard equipment, whilst other have the option of new packs.

  • MINI Hatch standard equipment revised. Chili Pack now includes LED Headlights
  • MINI Teleservice and MINI eCall introduced as standard on Hatch and Clubman models
  • eCall offers potential insurance savings with the launch of MINI Financial Services FlexiMile
  • Two new option packs offered; MINI Tech Pack and MINI Yours Pack
  • Option packs represent a significant saving while increasing residual values*
MINI has today announced a number enhancements for the standard specification on MINI Hatch models and the introduction of new personalisation options available exclusively for UK drivers.
LED headlights and foglights are now included in MINI’s flagship option pack, the MINI Chili Pack. Such are the savings of MINI Chili Pack that it is bought by over 50 per cent of MINI Hatch customers and 75 per cent of MINI Clubman customers.

In addition to the enhancements to the popular Chili Pack, MINI is today announcing that MINI Teleservices and MINI eCall will be standard on all MINI Hatch and MINI Clubman models from March.
Fully integrated into the car, MINI Teleservices is able to monitor the car’s service condition throughout its life. If an issue is ever detected, MINI Teleservices can send this data to the driver’s preferred MINI Retailer and an appointment to fix the problem can be arranged at the customer’s convenience.
With MINI Teleservices, MINI Financial Services is now also able to offer significant car insurance discounts for MINI Hatch drivers with MINI FlexiMile Insurance. By using MINI Teleservices, MINI FlexiMile Insurance is able to accurately monitor the amount of miles driven. Drivers who typically achieve 6,000 miles or less in a year will qualify for a discount on MINI Car Insurance if they opt for the new MINI FlexiMile Insurance product.
Without having to rely on Bluetooth connections, MINI eCall is capable of reading the speed and angle of the car on impact, the number of airbags deployed and how many seatbelts were in use at the time. Based on this data, MINI eCall determines the severity of the impact, triggering an emergency call, where this information can be shared with the emergency services. MINI eCall has its own battery unit and speaker so can function independently of other vehicle systems in the event of a severe incident.
MINI Teleservices and MINI eCall will be offered as standard on MINI 3-door Hatch, MINI 5-door Hatch and MINI Clubman from March of this year.
In addition to the changes to standard equipment, MINI customers will also have the choice of two new option packs; MINI Tech Pack and MINI Yours Pack. Both of these packs allow drivers to customise their MINI for less, while increasing the residual value of their vehicle*.
Available on all MINI Hatch models, and the brand new MINI Convertible, the newly launched MINI Tech Pack includes MINI Head-Up-Display, a first for the small car segment. MINI Head-Up Display extends above the steering wheel, projecting the vehicle speed, media information or even satellite navigation instructions on an easy-to-read display. A rear-view reversing camera is included on models where it is not offered as standard.
MINI Head-Up Display is fully integrated with the 8.8 inch central display, also included in the Tech Pack, complete with 20g hardrive, 3D mapping and real-time traffic information. This also includes MINI Connected XL with its Journey Mate function, which allows drivers to map their journey with way points and reminders before even getting into the car.
MINI Connected is also fully compatible with Spotify, controlled directly via the MINI Controller. A 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system combines two under seat subwoofers with five mid-range speakers and five tweeters.
Packed full the best of technology options MINI has to offer, the Tech Pack represents a saving of 10 per cent on MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door, MINI Convertible and MINI Clubman, when compared to purchasing individually.
The MINI Yours pack has been developed exclusively for the newly launched, MINI Convertible and MINI Clubman models. The pack includes hand-stitched MINI Yours Steering Wheel in Walk Nappa leather, striking Walk Nappa leather seat upholstery with braided piping, quilted leather design and a Union Flag embroidered into the headrest. Additional interior lighting comes with a choice of three MINI Yours interior surfaces, completing the look of the MINI Yours Pack.

The BMW Group has long been at the forefront of technological development. And today is no different !

  • The new BMW 330e and BMW 225xe Plug-in-Hybrid Electric Vehicles.
  • BMW Light and Charge technology provides a cutting-edge charging solution.
  • £40 million to boost green cars across the UK.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell technology offering long range, short refuelling times and zero emissions.
  • DriveNow and Moovit team up for enhanced journey flexibility.
The BMW Group has long been at the forefront of technological development. From boosting engine performance through recent innovations such as the EfficientDynamics programme to its first foray into hydrogen powered vehicles nearly 40 years ago and the first electrically-powered 1602 Saloon in 1972, BMW has always pushed the envelope of progress. 
Now with government funded initiatives, increasing customer demand, not to mention rapid development in areas such as battery technology and other scientific knowledge and application, BMW is well placed to offer its broadest ever spectrum of transport possibilities to customers.
In 2016 BMW will have an electric powered vehicle and a range extender variant, Plug-in-Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and highly efficient petrol and diesel internal combustion engines, while also continuing to develop hydrogen cars. 

Outside of pure product BMW is also working with key partners on how people use and fuel their cars and the growing link between varying transport options. BMW is now the Ultimate Mobility Provider while still retaining the crown as Ultimate Driving Machine too.
The new BMW 225xe and BMW 330e Plug-in-Hybrid Electric vehicles.
The new BMW X5 xDrive40e Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle was the first such production car from the BMW core brand. Now for 2016. BMW will offer an additional four PHEVs to broaden the opportunity to drive ultra-low emission vehicles with all electric drive capability.
The four new PHEV models, indebted to the BMW i brand for technology, come in the shape of the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, BMW 330e Saloon, and later this year the BMW 740e and 740Le xDrive from the marque’s flagship model. This means BMW will soon offer innovative PHEV technology in everything from compact models through to luxury-class cars.
The soon to be launched BMW 225xe Active Tourer shares the BMW eDrive technology previously seen in the BMW X5 xDrive40e. This technology includes a number of cutting-edge plug-in hybrid components that makes a significant contribution to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. In addition to this, the BMW 225xe also builds on the experience gained from the BMW i8 as it features xDrive technology.
Producing a total output of 224hp (a combination of the three-cylinder combustion engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, 136hp and an electric motor developing 88hp). The combustion engine sends its power to the front wheels via a six-speed Steptronic transmission and produces a peak torque of 220Nm but under heavy acceleration from rest and for overtaking manoeuvres, the power from the two drive systems combines to gives a peak torque of up to 385Nm. Its combined fuel consumption of 141.2mpg makes the 225xe one of the best in its class.
ModelPower (hp)Torque
0 – 62mph
Top Speed
Price from
BMW 225xe Active TourerElectric: 88
Engine: 136
Total: 224
Electric: 16
Engine: 220
Total: 385
*HM Government Plug-in Car Grant, up to a maximum £2,500, will be applied to the on the road price. The receipt of this grant is subject to the eligibility of the vehicle for the HM Government Plug-in Car Grant scheme at the point of the vehicle’s first registration in the UK.
The electrified xDrive system allows the driver to call on electrified all-wheel drive up to speeds of 78mph. With the electric motor and combustion engine only driving one axle each, the electrically driven rear axle is added to the conventionally powered Active Tourer’s front-wheel drive, traction is increased and the BMW 225xe’s handling remains neutral for longer than the models with only front-wheel drive can claim. A further improvement in driving dynamics is the result.
As a PHEV, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with eDrive can charge its lithium-ion high-voltage battery (gross capacity: 7.6 kWh) by either brake energy recuperation during a journey or when plugged into a domestic power socket (in three hours 15 minutes from empty) or the optional BMW i Wallbox (two hours 20 minutes from empty).

In addition to the BMW Driving Experience Control switch – with its SPORT, COMFORT and ECO PRO settings, familiar from other BMW models, the eDrive button in the centre console offers three driving modes: AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE and SAVE BATTERY.

AUTO eDRIVE is the basic setting activated when the car is started. It ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work together to optimum effect in all driving situations and gives a pure-electric top speed of 50mph. MAX eDRIVE allows the car to run on the electric drive system alone up to a speed of 78mph. With SAVE BATTERY, the charge of the high-voltage battery can be maintained or, if it’s already depleted, raised to over 50 per cent during a journey so that the available electric range can be used later in urban areas, for example.

BMW ConnectedDrive is also on hand to help lower fuel consumption. The ConnectedDrive package adds the proactive energy management function to the mix, which responds to the driving style and route profile to ensure the plug-in hybrid drive system is used as efficiently as possible.

The new BMW 225xe builds on the standard equipment of other 2 Series Active Tourer models, but with even greater specification and unique eDrive design elements. One example of this is eDrive Services which is offered as standard.  This allows the driver to access various features of the vehicle remotely and also integrates features of the BMW Online system into the vehicle.
As already seen on the BMW i3, this feature allows customers to search for Charging Stations in the navigation screen, access charge settings to allow off-peak charging and pre-conditioning and view efficiency statistics from with the central iDrive screen and the instrument cluster. It also allows customers to access features of the vehicle remotely via an app on compatible smartphones, tablet devices or computers. This builds on the BMW My Remote app which allows drivers to check the charging status of their vehicle, set charging times and search for charging stations whilst on foot. It will also allow them to pre-condition the vehicle by heating or cooling the interior whilst it is on charge. Other features also as standard include BMW Business Navigation, automatic tailgate and Dakota leather upholsteries.
The BMW 225xe arrives in BMW retailers from April 2016 and prices start at £32,545 OTR*.
The BMW 3 Series Saloon has already set standards for sports performance and fuel economy in its segment using conventional combustion engines. And so it provides the perfect environment for an inspiringly dynamic yet also exceptionally efficient plug-in hybrid model. Key ingredients here are its intelligent lightweight design, outstanding aerodynamics for this class of car and the extensive spread of BMW EfficientDynamics technology fitted as standard.
The new BMW 330e Saloon offers a combined fuel consumption of 148.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 44g/km when it joins the range in 2016. Its state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid technology combines an 184hp 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 65kW (88hp equivalent) electric motor. The combined output of 252hp and combined maximum torque of 420Nm give the BMW 330e Saloon a 0-62mph acceleration time of just 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 140mph.
The high-voltage battery, made up of lithium-ion cells, is located underneath the boot and boasts efficient refrigerant cooling including a highly integrated low-temperature circuit. The battery has a total capacity of 7.6 kWh, which enables an all-electric and therefore locally emission-free range of around 25 miles, perfect for city dwellers and commuters.
The integration of the high-voltage battery in the compartment under the boot gives the BMW 330e Saloon a level load compartment floor, while use of the optional through-loading system with 40:20:40 split rear seat backrests remains unrestricted. Together with its boot capacity of 370 litres, the new BMW 330e therefore offers all the everyday practicality of a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series Saloon.
Similarly to the BMW 225xe, with the 330e Saloon there is a choice of three driving modes: AUTOeDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE and SAVE BATTERY. With AUTO eDRIVE the top electric speed is limited to 50mph and ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work together to optimum effect in all driving situations. This mode is activated automatically as the default setting every time the car is started up. In MAX eDRIVE mode the BMW 330e Saloon uses the car’s electric power only, drawing on the electric drive system’s full output. A top speed of 75mph is possible. SAVE BATTERY mode only utilises the petrol combustion engine for driving and allows the battery’s energy stores to be deliberately maintained – or increased again if the charge level has dropped below 50 percent. This energy can then be used for pure-electric driving.
0 – 62mph
Top Speed
BMW 330e SalooonElectric: 88
Engine: 184
Total: 252
Electric: 250
Engine: 290
Total: 420
*HM Government Plug-in Car Grant, up to a maximum £2,500, will be applied to the on the road price. The receipt of this grant is subject to the eligibility of the vehicle for the HM Government Plug-in Car Grant scheme at the point of the vehicle’s first registration in the UK.
BMW ConnectedDrive works in tandem with the navigation system to allow even better use of the available electric energy. Here, the system assists the driver with proactive energy management and calculates an operating strategy which responds to the driving style and route profile at hand, ensuring the plug-in hybrid drive system is used as efficiently as possible.
The system adapts the drive strategy to the overall route profile. For example, the car uses all-electric power along urban streets and electric energy is also deployed on uphill sections so that the system’s full recuperation potential can be used on a subsequent downhill stretch. This equips the 330e perfectly to offer local emission-free driving, as well as covering longer stretches extremely efficiently and with less impact on the environment.
Like all BMW 3 Series models, the 330e has a comfortable and stylish interior featuring five seats, practical details and the ergonomic operating concept typical of BMW. Moreover, the BMW 330e Saloon comes as standard with auxiliary heating and cooling (output: 5kW). This function can be activated by a button on the 330e’s remote key or can be pre-programmed for a specific departure time using either the iDrive operating system or via the BMW Remote smartphone app. The details are shown on the Control Display.
Standard specification is extensive and includes sports multi-functional leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, front and rear Park Distance Control and BMW eDrive services, allowing the driver to access various features of the vehicle remotely. In addition to this the 330e features LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights with the option to upgrade to LED headlights or BMW Icon Adaptive LED headlights. Business Navigation also comes as standard as does an extensive arrange of on-board technologies. BMW Online Services also come as standard, which allows the driver to purchase additional ConnectedDrive Service subscriptions such as Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) and Online Entertainment via the on-board ConnectedDrive store.
The BMW 330e Saloon is eligible for congestion charge exemption and is eligible for the Government’s Plug in Car Grant (PiCG) representing a significant saving on the purchase price. It is on sale now priced from £33,935 OTR* with the first customers getting their cars in April 2016.
These latest BMW PHEVs come after BMW launched the ground breaking i3 and i3 with Range Extender vehicles in 2013 and the PHEV powered BMW i8 sports car. By the end of 2016 there will be a total of non-conventional internal combustion powered vehicles in the BMW model range.
BMW Light & Charge technology provides a cutting-edge charging solution.
Innovative technology announced by BMW Group will soon allow electric cars to be charged using state-of-the-art LED street lights. This offers a solution to those electric vehicle users, who do not have their own charging equipment at home but need to charge on-street. Light & Charge combines highly efficient LED street lighting with an integrated EV charging solution in a fully connected system. The luminaire enables energy consumption to be significantly reduced while the integrated charging station enables more people to rely on electric mobility. Furthermore, the system provides a connected platform for sensor-based applications such as lighting control based on occupancy or real-time parking space monitoring.

With its modular LED design, the Light & Charge street light is much more energy-efficient than conventional street lighting and provides more effective illumination. It can be installed anywhere and its modular design can to be tailored to different locations.

Up to four LED modules can be used to provide night-time lighting on main roads, while one or two modules are sufficient to provide lighting on side streets and in residential areas. As is already the case with vehicle headlights, LED technology allows more targeted light distribution with less unnecessary and ecologically undesirable “scatter”.

The Power Link, a pole-mounted EV Charging Station integrates with existing city infrastructure, making it highly cost-efficient without taking up additional sidewalk space. An integrated smart energy meter keeps track of energy taken from the grid, so that existing power cables can be used to run the charging unit.
The charging station is also part of BMW i ChargeNow network, which means its users also enjoy convenient cashless payment – a system already familiar to users of the large number of public charging stations already participating in this network. Via its built-in internet access (GSM), the Charging Station can be remotely managed, maintained and serviced. A high level of component standardization ensures full compatibility across all electric vehicle types and enables easy integration into existing infrastructure and charging station management systems.
Another component of the Light & Charge technology is the City Link system a low-cost wireless controller integrated into each luminaire of the LED street light. It works by using intelligent sensor-based light adjustment which can be communicated from one luminaire to the next. Therefore providing real-time data across the city such as data for smart city applications, including traffic flow analysis and real-time parking space monitoring.
Both the LED Street Light and the Charging Station are engineered for retrofit applications. With its clean and simple design, the system integrates into the environment of a historical city centre just as well as into the context of contemporary architecture. This forms the basis for numerous smart city applications including traffic flow analysis and real-time parking space monitoring.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: “The BMW i ChargeNow card already offers access to the world’s largest network of charging stations, and now it gives us great pleasure, in cooperation with our partners, to further expand this network with the help of the Light and Charge project. After all, a seamless charging infrastructure is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future.”

£40 million to boost green cars across the UK.
The government is to invest £40 million in projects to boost the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK. London, Nottingham, Bristol and Milton Keynes will get the lion’s share of this investment after being announced the winners of a Go Ultra Low schemebased upon their proposals to encourage local residents to consider switching to a plug-in car. Elsewhere, the scheme is also providing £5 million of development funding for specific initiatives in Dundee, Oxford, York and north east regions to help them play their part in kick-starting a UK-wide clean motoring revolution.

Each main prize winning city was awarded a share of the fund for implementing cutting edge technology such as rapid-charging hubs and Light & Charge technology from BMW – a smart LED street lamp which doubles up as an electric vehicle charging point. Oxford, home to MINI and Plant Oxford where the majority of MINIs are produced will get £800,000 to trial different charging options.  
The government believes these innovations will not only support the UK’s thriving green vehicle sector but improve air quality in urban hotspots and will broadly help the government meet its emission cutting targets. Plug-in-car owners also benefit from local privileges from the scheme. Access to bus lanes in city centres, up to 25,000 free parking spaces, which could save commuters as much as £1,300 a year, a large growth in charging stations and discounted leasing schemes will all be on offer.
Transport for London aims to have 70,000 ULEVs a year sold by 2020 and almost quarter of a million by 2025.
Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, said: “The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”
Hydrogen fuel cell technology offering long range, short refueling times and zero emissions.
BMW Group has focused on the use of hydrogen as an energy source for nearly 40 years and has experienced a constant stream of significant advances in terms of efficiency, performance and capabilities as parts of its Efficient Dynamics strategy.

Now by combining fuel cell technology with BMW eDrive, the marque has successfully created several hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) prototypes including the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. With a long-distance range of more than 300 miles available, the FCEV provides all-electric, locally emission-free driving with fast and convenient refuelling in under five minutes.

The gaseous hydrogen contained in the storage tank is converted into electric power and water vapour. The vehicle’s high-voltage battery serves as an energy storage unit and can therefore be considerably smaller than in battery-electric concepts. Hydrogen storage comes in the form of a tunnel tank between the front and rear axle; industry standard vessel technology and cryogenic pressure vessel technology patented by the BMW Group for storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature.

BMW will continue to develop these hydrogen-powered vehicles with a view to an application that might make series production in the future.

DriveNow and Moovit team up for enhanced journey flexibility
The car sharing service DriveNow is to expand its visibility and enhance ease of use and transportation choice with the integration of the app, Moovit. The news comes, partly, after a global survey conducted by Moovit in 2015 showed London users commanded on-demand mobility services five or more times per week, despite the fact that 29 per cent of users had access to a household car.
Now with the integration of DriveNow into Moovit users will have one-touch access to all available forms of transportation right within the app. Moovit users will be able to view the entire fleet of available DriveNow cars in their area and rent one at exactly the moment they need it. Moovit will be launching the DriveNow integration first in London, with availability in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Stockholm to follow.

Ulrich Quay, Managing Director of BMW I Ventures, said: “We are very excited about the integration of DriveNow and Moovit, both brands are aiming to develop smart urban mobility solutions for our cities and we are happy to continue to work together towards this common goal.”