Another company wants to take it to the skies.
German electric flying car startup Lilium has just hired Frank Stephenson to make its flying car service a reality. The main goal of the service is to make a ride-hailing app — much like Uber — but with flying cars.
The company is expecting to launch a fully operational taxi service by 2025 with their vehicles having the capability to take off and land vertically so a long runway will be unnecessary.
Stephenson was the man behind the design of certain iconic cars like the Ferrari F430, new Mini Cooper, and McLaren P1. His vision now is apparently to make a vehicle that people wouldn’t want to leave, and we can expect this from the design department of the air taxi company that he now heads.
According to the designer, the interior will be complete with entertainment systems and a special mention of “materials that can turn opaque and then transparent,” suggesting the possibility of the floor becoming transparent to be able to see the ground while you fly. Pretty neat!
He then added that he sees the location where passengers embark and disembark as ports — most probably on top of tall buildings away from the crowd and with a small landing pad.
2025 is still a few years away and a lot could still happen. Lilium is not alone in having this vision, though, as Airbus is also preparing its own eVTOL autonomous aircraft.
Are flying vehicles really the future? Maybe, and that actually sounds convenient. But until then, we still have to be patient being stuck in road traffic.
Nissan pushes through with electrification of Asia and Oceania
One step at a time
It’s that time of the year again when Nissan gathers thought leaders, government officials, and media representatives from around the region to discuss how to improve and reshape the way people use transportation.
With the theme “Transform the way we drive and live,” this year’s Nissan Futures offers updated statistics and tackles the company’s plans and strategies to fully electrify Asia and Oceania.
Through a report, Nissan kicked off the event by showing us our current situation and where this could lead. They said that in about 30 years, the human population will hit 9.9 billion and two out of three people will be living in cities. This translates to more carbon footprint for each city and heavier air pollution for everyone if we simply continue going down this path.
“Asia Pacific is home to more than 2.1 billion urban residents, that is 60 percent of the world’s urban population. This brings increased pressure on the region’s cities and mobility systems. Events like Nissan Futures create the appropriate platform to discuss solutions for our region’s societies and mobility systems,” said Yutaka Sanada, Regional Senior Vice President for Asia and Oceania. “Driven by our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, we are committed to bringing safe, smart, and sustainable mobility to more people.”
We already talked about the benefits of electric vehicles (as well as myths that surround them) and how they will significantly reduce tailpipe emissions on the streets and eventually reduce air pollution. With that in mind, Nissan envisions a city with a more sustainable environment by jumping on the electric bandwagon. And right now, their Leaf electric vehicle is what embodies their plans for the future.
“The Leaf remains the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our strategy for moving more people to a better world,” said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s Global Head of Marketing, Sales, and Electric Vehicles.
Just earlier this month, the Leaf cemented itself as the most successful EV to date — surpassing the 400,000 sales mark. Although, we weren’t that surprised since we got to drive and experience the Leaf for the second time. I’d say the drive was more exciting this year since we drove it around the open streets of Hong Kong and witnessed how it fared in terms of its safety features, handling, power, and battery consumption.
We made a short video of the drive:
Yes, we’re still far away from cities being fully electric, but Nissan is relentlessly pushing through. It has already put its foot in and is paving the way for electrification that will soon extend beyond the confines of a vehicle.
New Model Y is Tesla’s more affordable electric SUV
Arriving fall of 2020
The Tesla Model Y has made its debut, positioning itself as a more affordable Model X — the company’s luxury SUV. This new mid-size all-electric vehicle is the company’s second stab at a mass market EV as an effort to make more people jump on the electric bandwagon.
At first glance, one could mistake it for a Tesla Model 3 with its long, sloping lines, wide bonnet, and lower grille. The difference is that being a crossover, the Model Y is bigger. In front there are LED fog lamps, auto dimming and power folding side mirrors, and a choice of 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels.
Inside, it has a 15-inch touchscreen display against a minimalist interior that we’re pretty much used to seeing. The vehicle will fit up to seven people on its 12-way power adjustable heated seats with a panoramic glass roof above them.
The Model Y will come in four different versions namely the Standard Range, Long Range, Dual Motor AWD, and Performance specs. The Long Range Model Y boasts a range of 300 miles while the Performance version can go from zero to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and topping at a speed of 150mph.
Apart from the Standard Range which will come later in 2021, all other models will arrive in the fall of 2020. Pricing starts at US$ 39,000 and stretches to US$ 60,000 for the top-of-the-line Performance model. In between those are the Long Range and Dual Motor AWD which are at US$ 47,000 and US$ 51,000, respectively.
6 quick facts about MG’s vehicles
There’s a new player in town
Sure, there’s already a wide selection of car brands in the Philippine automotive market and most of them have already established their presence here. But while British brand MG or Morris Garages is a fairly new player, it doesn’t mean they’re late in the game. The company recently introduced to the country its first wave of vehicles that offer good deals especially for those looking for their first car.
To get to know them a little better, we thought we’d share some quick facts about MG and the way its vehicles are manufactured.
1. British heritage, Chinese-owned
Although a British brand, MG is now under China’s largest vehicle manufacturer and exporter, SAIC Motor, which is a top-ranked Fortune 500 company. It is also China’s largest auto manufacturer and exporter. They have MG backed up in terms of finances and even its technologies. Which brings us to our second fact…
2. Using only cutting-edge systems
SAIC Motor’s 1.2 million square-meter plant in Lingang, Shanghai uses top of the line technologies to ensure that every MG vehicle rolling out of the assembly line is made with the highest quality. The facility is able to produce 880 units per day using laser-guided robotics for precision during assembly of each unit. Here’s a fun fact: SAIC Motor sold 7.05 million vehicles in 2018 alone.
3. Tried and tested
The SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company in Shanghai houses an R&D facility that does quality checks on all their vehicles before they are sent out to showrooms, including MG. These tests are no simple tests, either. Their variety of facilities include a safety lab, powertrain lab, thermal energy emission lab, architecture lab, thermal wind tunnel lab, and more.
4. Technologies to experience
The company is so proud of its high-tech tools that they have the SAIC Intelligent Plaza to showcase their best equipment. They take pride in it being the only auto-driving experience area that’s open to the public. It’s complete with a VR scenario test drive, intelligent robot service, and other intelligent experience projects. It’s basically a tech geek’s heaven, making it a go-to place whenever one is in the area.
5. MG in the Philippines
Technically and financially backed by SAIC Motor, MG can not only go toe-to-toe with bigger names in terms of quality, but it also offers more bang for your buck compared to some of its competitors. The company sees the Philippines as a new and promising market and aims to deliver world-class products and top-notch service.
6. Access to aftersales services
Here’s one more: Filipino MG owners will also have access to innovative aftersales services. The company is in partnership with independent service outlets including a Mobile Garage service caravan for regular preventive maintenance right at your garage. There’s the 1-hour Max and Go in case you’re in a hurry but still have to get that maintenance done, 24-hour roadside assistance, and an app for closely monitoring the car’s running stats and scheduling service appointments.
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