Automotive

Nissan Futures 2018: Electrifying the Future

Exciting times ahead!

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Nissan wants to reshape the future of mobility by electrifying it.

Just recently, we caught a glimpse of what’s ahead as imagined by the Japanese company at the Nissan Futures event in Singapore. Think of it as a thought leadership platform that aims to gather both industry stakeholders and media.

Not only that, electric vehicle experts and government representatives from different parts of the ASEAN region were also present to participate and engage in panel discussions.

Although what most people were probably looking forward to the most was the chance to see Nissan’s newest technologies in action during the test drive. But apart from that, the event was to discuss Nissan’s goal to transition our everyday way of life into a connected, more efficient, and smarter future.

This was the first time an event like this was held in the Asia and Oceania region so it got us excited to see what the company had in store for us.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Before we dive into anything, let’s first get a grasp of what an electric vehicle (EV) is and what its benefits are.

EVs have zero tailpipe emission — meaning they don’t give out fumes harmful to both the air and people. They are virtually noiseless, unlike internal combustion engines. EV users also save a lot on maintenance since having a battery-powered motor has less moving parts than a conventional engine. Wear-and-tear would also be minimized.

2018 fully electric Nissan Leaf 

Most importantly, they reduce dependence on oil.

EVs are an integral part of a cleaner and more sustainable environment. For some, just knowing that they’re doing their part to save the earth is reason enough to get an electric vehicle.

So with that out of the way, let’s now get to what Nissan Futures is working on for Southeast Asia.

Electrification in Southeast Asia

Among the topics discussed was the status of Southeast Asia and its readiness for adapting an electrified future. It’s a fact that while car ownership from this region is high, electrification of the automotive sector is relatively slow to take off.

This is why Nissan commissioned Frost & Sullivan, a global growth consulting company to conduct the study “Future of Electric Vehicles in Southeast Asia.”

There were 1,800 respondents in ASEAN, revealing that 37 percent of prospective buyers are open to considering an electric vehicle as their next car and customers specifically in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia emerged as the most enthusiastic about adapting electric cars.

This came as a surprise to most people and because of these findings, Nissan actually gave us their word to look into bringing the technology to these countries sooner than originally planned. 

Key Factors for EVs to Take Off

What does it require for EVs to take off? Well, as taken from the same survey, more people will make the switch to EVs if they were offered incentives.

Three in four people in Southeast Asia are ready to jump from conventional cars to EVs if taxes are waived. And about 70 percent of them will also welcome adaptation if charging stations are installed in apartment buildings.

Power stations for apartments and establishments

This means that the government will play a huge role in making these dreams a reality. Right now, not all countries in the region are capable of establishing infrastructures to support electric vehicles.

This is also the main reason why the new Nissan Leaf will not be available in all targeted ASEAN countries right away (see the countries here).

Shaping the Future

So how exactly does Nissan plan to shape the connected future? The keywords are Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

It basically determines how the company’s cars are powered, driven, and integrated with society.

Nissan Intelligent Mobility is already present in some of their vehicles. The auto-parking technology, 360-degree view, connected data — all emerged from this DNA.

During the event, Nissan showed off more of its new technology through interactive displays.

EPORO robots mimic the movement of schools of fish

We were first introduced to these robots called EPORO. Although they remind us of a crossover between Wall-E and Eve, these robots weren’t made to just be cute. These were designed and based off of schools of fish that move together in the same direction, never touching one another, and avoiding obstacles with single collective motions.

Using the same principle, when an obstacle presents itself to block its path, the robot will stop and so would all the others behind it. Nissan envisions to use the same algorithm on their vehicles so they can communicate with one another on the road and avoid colliding with other cars.

It’s not yet perfect, as we’ve seen them get confused once or twice. But with tweaks and updates, Nissan says this should take care of safety concerns when self-driving cars are the norm.

Charging port for the new Nissan Leaf

The company also talked about Alliance Connected Cloud, a shared technology in vehicle connectivity through a platform shared by Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi. The connected cloud will store data for customers to enjoy a variety of services.

Further developed by Microsoft, Nissan told us to expect added functionalities in different departments — security and safety included. 

And finally, we were introduced to Nissan’s e-Powertrain.

e-Power on the Nissan Note

e-Power can be confusing since it sits between the usual combustion engine and an electric vehicle but it’s not quite a hybrid. Instead, the small engine doesn’t make the wheels turn but simply charges the battery whenever the juice runs out. It is still the electric motor that makes the car move.

This is what was installed on the Nissan Note also on display. For countries that aren’t that prepared to go fully electric yet, e-Power might be Nissan’s solution for now.

Test Drive

The second day was more of a hands-on with not one, not two, but three Nissan cars on the Nanyang Technological University’s Center of Excellence for Testing and Research of AVs or simply, CETRAN.

It’s basically a small test circuit for autonomous vehicles to ensure safe and seamless integration onto public roads. For this activity, there were two variants of the Nissan Note: one with a normal combustion engine and one with e-Power just so we could compare the two. While the last vehicle to test out was the fully electric 2018 Leaf.

Nissan Note with e-Power

Unlike its gasoline counterpart, the Note with e-Power is quiet as you’d expect on an electric vehicle. The engine only works once the battery is low but even then, it’s been reported to be efficient. According to the Japanese fuel efficiency test, the Note e-Power can reach 32.7 kilometers to a liter.

Then we got inside the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

It’s been an icon for the Japanese carmaker since it became very popular when the first model came out. In fact, the predecessor was one of the best-selling EVs of all time — with over 300,000 units sold worldwide. For this new model, the company is proud to claim the title as the most advanced, yet accessible 100 percent electric vehicle on the planet.

The new Leaf has an improved design and now features a clear-cut curve for its rear bumper

The new Leaf features increased power and range from its 2010 predecessor. It also carries a new electric powertrain that delivers 110kW of output and 320Nm of torque, improving acceleration.

A jolt of power from a full stop is what they’ve been proud of achieving and we got to put it to the test while at the track.

Driving the Leaf was very nimble and response time on the gas pedal was so impressive that the car almost pounces as soon as you hit the accelerator.

Nissan is also introducing new features to the 2018 Leaf. The e-Pedal has been tweaked to act both as a gas pedal and brakes for a sort of one-pedal driving. Stepping on the gas accelerates the car just like a normal vehicle would, but letting go of the pedal brings the car to a complete stop.

It was designed to help during heavy traffic so the driver wouldn’t need to keep on switching between the gas and brakes from time to time. We were also able to clear corners without hitting the breaks so the potential to reinvent driving is really there.

Another demonstration on the Leaf was its ProPILOT Park feature.

It’s the company’s version of self-parking wherein you only need to press the ProPILOT Park button and the car will automatically detect the space to park in. It takes a while for it to park — about one to two minutes but it does the job easily especially for those who find it a bit challenging when it comes to parking the vehicle.

Conclusion

From all these we can see that Nissan, just like other big automotive companies, has some pretty serious plans to reinvent how people move from one place to another. Statistics from the survey might show that some countries in the ASEAN region are not yet ready to jump fully on the EV bandwagon, but it’s good to know that Nissan still has solutions in mind like the e-Power on the Note.

It was also pretty evident during the event that Nissan has the tech to back up and build an entirely new ecosystem for transportation (and they already look promising), but companies like them also need to work very closely with the government of targeted countries in order to fully prepare for a connected city.

So how long until we live the envisioned life? Well, Nissan claims that we will be in a massively connected environment by the year 2020 — that’s if everything goes according to their timetable. Exciting times ahead indeed!

Automotive

Drive, Eat, Shoot: Exploring the East with the Ford Everest

Who says combining work and play isn’t fun? 🤔

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During our participation at the Auto Rally Challenge a few months back, we were lent a Ford Everest to use at the event. We actually had an extra day with it and our group at GadgetMatch decided to set aside our laptops, grab our cameras, and take the Everest to the first destination that came to mind.

Since we had an enjoyable time with it, we thought we’d share our experience with you guys.

You can check out this short clip of our trip shot entirely on Sony’s smartphone.

The Ride

What we drove was the 3.2-liter Ford Everest Titanium. It’s a midsize SUV great for hauling the family and is packed with safety and comfort features. Being the top of the line variant, it’s the only model with a 4×4 setup so it’s a vehicle that can keep up with your adventures.

Inside, it comfortably seats five people and if you need more, the third row folds out at a press of a button and accommodates up to two more people.

If you find yourself on a long highway stretch, its Adaptive Cruise Control makes for a more relaxing drive so you can take in the scenery around you. Don’t enjoy too much, though, and make sure to still be attentive of the road ahead!

Ford’s SYNC technology lets you play music and read text messages without having to look away from the road. You can do these things through voice commands.

Features like Blind Spot Information and Lane Keeping make sure you only switch lanes when it’s safe. Meanwhile, its Active Park Assist together with proximity sensors help when you squeeze your way through a tight parking space.

A Power Panorama Moonroof also comes with the package. Enjoy a view of the sky or open it for a breath of fresh province air — it’s all up to you.

From the leather-wrapped seats down to the available 230V socket, it’s creature comforts like these that make the Everest an enjoyable ride.

Considering our headquarters in the Philippines is at the east-most border of Manila, we thought it would be exciting to go out of the busy city and see some sights. The province of Rizal made the most sense, so we hopped inside the Everest.

The Food

We left around lunch time so the first thing on our itinerary was to look for a place to eat. We wanted none of those fast food chains; we wanted to try something new.

This led us to our first stop: Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono, Rizal.

Angono is known as the Art Capital of the Philippines and is evident in the restaurant. Apart from the dining area, there’s a dedicated space with an abundance of artworks, from paintings and woodwork to sculptures.

The restaurant specializes in Filipino dishes. Although, if one feels adventurous, there’s an exotic corner in the menu with crickets and beef testicles. Unfortunately, none of us felt like going for cow balls during lunch so we went for a safer, more traditional meal.

We got Kalderetang Itik (young duck stew), Balaw-Balaw Fried Rice, grilled chicken, and Minaluto which is basically seafood platter with a mix of fried pork and vegetables.

With our tummies filled and bodies energized, we hopped back on the Everest and off we went for our next destination.

The Sights

Although we were out on a road trip, we still brought a bit of work with us. We needed to shoot photos for our smartphone reviews and wanted to go for a fresh, new location. We heard the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City is photography-friendly and offers an array of contemporary art displays and wide, open spaces.

We were not disappointed. The place is a spacious haven for art, culture, and OOTDs. It has a Greek vibe to it which goes well with the shroud of trees surrounding the area.

A quick tip if you plan to go to Pinto Art Museum: visit on weekdays so there are fewer people. We heard the place can be a little crowded during the weekends and holidays.

Hundreds of artworks are displayed throughout six galleries so be sure to allot enough time going around. We think two to three hours should be enough.

Shot using a Sony Xperia XZ2 with a clip-on macro lens

Shot using a Sony A7S II

The entire museum is inside a 1.2-hectare property that not only houses paintings and installations, but brightly colored fowls, as well!

We shot what we needed and were ready to go home. But one last stop: We chanced upon this road less traveled and pulled over to bask in the rays of the setting sun. We popped open the Everest’s Power Liftgate and gathered around to hang for a while.

Stories were exchanged, selfies were snapped, and laughs were had. We drove back to our headquarters shortly after and called it a day. That was how our quick trip to Rizal with the Ford Everest went.

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Automotive

Ford Philippines intros stylish new 2018 EcoSport

With a choice to go for the 1.0L EcoBoost engine

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Driving in the city isn’t always fun especially during rush hour. But with the arrival of Ford’s new EcoSport in the Philippines, your everyday drive is looking more comfortable and enjoyable.

The new EcoSport boasts enhancements inside and out. We see the exterior having a new front grille and headlamps proceeded by a fresh hood design. Going in, you’ll be greeted by a leather dashboard, a large 9-inch touchscreen display (8-inch for the Titanium variant), and a power sunroof.

In terms of features, the new EcoSport is equipped with smart technologies for added convenience. These include the Rear View Camera with Rear Parking Assist, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Automatic Headlights, and Smart Keyless Entry. Opening text messages, making calls, and playing your favorite tunes can all be done hands-free using Ford’s SYNC 3 system — little things that altogether make city driving more enjoyable.

It’s also no surprise that we see Ford’s array of safety features on the EcoSport including Hill-Start Assist, Anti-Locking Brake System (ABS), and a total of six airbags in all EcoSport variants.

Three variants come with a new 1.5-liter Ti-VCT engine but what’s interesting is that Ford’s award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is what powers the top Titanium AT model. Being the company’s most technologically advanced engine, Ford promises more power while consuming less fuel.

Six color options are available including Absolute Black, Ingot Silver, Crystal White, Ruby Red, Canyon Ridge, and Blue Lightning. See the price list below for all EcoSport variants:

  • 1.0L EcoBoost Titanium AT – PhP 1,168,000
  • 1.5L Trend AT – PhP 1,028,000
  • 1.5L Trend MT – PhP 968,000
  • 1.5L Ambiente MT – PhP 918,000

The complete lineup of the Ford EcoSport mini SUV is now available for viewing at all Ford dealerships in the Philippines. Additionally, customers can hop on one and test drive the units from August 31 to September 2 at the Ford Island Conquest Year 2 happening at the Big Bear Oval in Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.

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Automotive

New 2018 Honda HR-V unveiled in PH

Also comes in a sporty RS variant

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Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. has officially introduced the new 2018 HR-V carrying a refreshed look. And it’s not alone.

The new HR-V is meant for those looking for a crossover vehicle that can adjust to the needs of its users while still looking stylish.

Outside, it sports a newly designed front bumper, front grille, and full LED headlamps with integrated daytime running lights. New LED guide-type tail lamps give it a futuristic touch while fresh 17-inch alloy wheels round up the exterior.

Honda didn’t skimp on features, either. Inside, it’s equipped with a new 7-inch touchscreen system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The inside of HR-V in Utility, Long, and Tall modes

And just like with what we’ve seen on some of Honda’s vehicles in the past, the seats fold in a way that can accommodate extra large baggage. This is made possible through its ULT (Utility, Long, Tall) modes.

Under the hood, we have Honda’s 1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine that outputs 142PS at 6,500rpm and 17.5kg-m of torque at 4,300rpm. It is then mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) based on the company’s Earth Dreams Technology. If you’re wondering, Honda’s Eco Assist System helps in making the vehicle more fuel-efficient.

SEE ALSO: Honda offers limited edition City, BR-V, and Odyssey

Unique for the RS variant is its Phoenix Orange Pear color

The Japanese manufacturer is also offering a special RS Navi variant that flaunts a specially designed front honeycomb grille and LED fog lights. Meanwhile, dark chrome-finished door handles, door trims, smoked tail lamps and two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels give this crossover vehicle a sleeker touch. A navigation system is also embedded in the 7-inch touchscreen which comes as a standard.

To ensure safety, Honda has equipped both HR-V models with Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Brake Hold, Anti-lock Braking System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, driver and front passenger SRS airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, and Hill Start Assist. As an added feature, the RS Navi model has additional side airbags for the back passengers.

Today marks the availability of the new HR-V in all dealerships across the Philippines and will be available in Phoenix Orange, Passion Red Pearl, Taffeta White, Modern Steel Metallic, and Lunar Silver Metallic. Pricing starts at PhP 1,295,000 for the 1.8 E CVT while the 1.8 RS Navi CVT goes for PhP 1,495,000.

Check out this short video during the launch.

SEE ALSO: New Honda Civic Type R arrives in PH

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