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

Sex in driverless cars and what might be the future of autonomous vehicles

All according to a study

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Photo by Kenny Luo

What will autonomous vehicles bring? More than just a driverless solution from point A to point B, according to a new study.

Of course, the logical effect would be the phasing out of traditional cabs and a switch in focus to the customer experience. A paper conducted by University of Surrey Tourism Professor Scott Cohen and University of Oxford Transport Studies Lecturer Debbie Hopkins goes even further in imagining a world where driverless cars are a reality.

According to Cohen, “It’s only a natural conclusion that sex in autonomous vehicles will become a phenomenon.” “Sex,” the study explains, “plays a central role in many tourism experiences.” It furthers, “It is just a small leap to imagine Amsterdam’s Red Light District ‘on the move.’”

The researchers also warn authorities to be ready. With the driverless revolution less than a decade away, these transport spaces may possibly be used as cover for illicit activities like prostitution, drug dealing, or even terrorism. On the other side of the spectrum, privacy issues might also arise as these autonomous vehicles will most probably be tracking everything.

In the meantime, let’s sit tight — in cars that actually have drivers in them.

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MG Philippines makes owning British heritage vehicles a reality for all first car owners

A new contender in the local automotive market!

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Choosing your first car can be a daunting process. You might have a lot of questions: “What type of car should I get? What car brand should I go for? How do I get my money’s worth?” These are all valid questions. Good thing MG Philippines is around to offer a straight-up solution for today’s hip, young blood in search of their first car.

British heritage auto brand MG wants the Philippine market to “Be Excited” as it introduces its first wave of vehicles in the Philippines, which are sure to appeal to the needs of modern Filipinos looking to own their first ride. The lineup from MG Philippines consistently offers vehicles that flaunt a fresh style, modern driving aids, and creature comforts — all at very competitive prices.

MG ZS

First in the lineup is the MG ZS crossover SUV which is aimed at those who demand versatility in their rides, without compromising on vehicle features and breaking the bank. On the outside, the MG ZS is a looker with its London Eye headlamps, Stardust grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels that beg to be noticed.

Bells and whistles include a push start/stop button, as well as a multi-function steering wheel with cruise control. The vehicle also sports an 8-inch LCD infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay so you can stay connected to your device and access media, all while keeping your hands on the wheel. Cruising on the outskirts of the city? Simply roll the Stargazer panoramic sun roof back for a breath of fresh air.

The MG ZS also comes standard with Collision Protection technology and curtain airbags for added safety. Other advanced safety features include an Anti-lock Brake System, Cornering Brake Control, Electronic Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Distribution, Hill Start Assist, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, and Traction Control System.

In terms of power, it has a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine that produces 114HP and 140Nm of torque. The MG ZS comes in three variants with the following prices:

  • MT “Style” – PhP 818,888 introductory price
  • AT “Style” – PhP 868,888 introductory price
  • AT “Alpha” – PhP 998,888 introductory price

MG 6

If you’re looking for a sporty-looking ride that doesn’t let down on performance, the MG 6 fastback sedan is your best bet from the lineup. It has a longer, taller, and wider body than others in its segment and exudes an authoritative stance thanks to its 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, sporty body lines, and a confident-looking fascia.

The interior is equipped with sporty, two-tone black and red seats, dash, and door panels. There’s also a flat-bottomed steering wheel — a clear nod to the brand’s racing heritage. Simply looking at its interior makes your heart beat faster with excitement.

It’s not all about the looks for the MG 6. Under the hood resides a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine which produces 162HP and 250Nm of torque. MacPherson struts up front and blade-type multi-link rear suspension also give you the edge with sharp handling and a smooth-sailing ride. Pricing for the two variants with 7-speed transmission are as follows:

  • AT “Alpha” – PhP 1,068,888 introductory price
  • AT “Trophy” – PhP 1,188,888 introductory price

MG RX5

Your routine might require you to need a daily vehicle that can capably ferry you to and from work, but you might also want it to be versatile enough to take on road trips on weekends. For this, consider the MG RX5. This compact SUV embodies power and class while also being versatile enough to bring on trips outside the metro.

The RX5’s elegant dashboard and door inserts are finished in high-grade materials while the cabin has ample legroom and headroom to fit the entire gang comfortably. You can also haul larger cargo thanks to its 60/40 split-fold function.

Expect a comfortable ride with the RX5, since it is been equipped with an enhanced MacPherson up front, with a rear multi-link suspension system. This ensures you and your passengers are comfortable throughout every ride. That one friend who always sleeps through trips is sure to appreciate this feature.

Additional features include keyless entry, push start/stop button, cruise control, and an electronic parking brake with autohold function for easier and safer driving.

The MG RX5 comes equipped with a 7-speed double-clutch automatic transmission and is available in two models.

  • MT “Core” – PhP 1,058,888
  • AT “Style” – PhP 1,228,888

That’s not all!

MG knows that pretty much everything is connected nowadays through our smartphones. Hence, the company is currently producing an accompanying app to closely monitor its car’s running stats and allow online booking of service appointments. No more waiting in line at the service center! They are also gearing up to opening 16 new dealerships to better accommodate its customers all over the country.

With these offerings, MG Philippines aims to deliver quality vehicles to the Philippine market, while giving them unparalleled service and outstanding value for their hard-earned cash.

So, after reading what MG Philippines has to offer, have you found your match?

Visit the MG pop-up store this month, and get up close and personal with the latest vehicles from MG Philippines. See the following dates and locations:

  • November 15 to 18, 2018 — SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds (2018 Auto Focus Pre-Christmas Test Drive Festival)
  • November 20 to December 20, 2018 — SM City Cebu
  • November 29 to December 5, 2018 — SM Megamall

Please visit www.mgmotor.com.ph for more info. Follow MG Philippines on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and MG Philippines.

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Automotive

5 driving tips for pregnant women

What to do to ensure the safest drive

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Illustration by MJ Jucutan

It’s 2018 and women can drive. And you know what? They can even drive while pregnant. 😎

But, having and growing another person inside of you entails special considerations. To ensure the safest and most comfortable drive, I’ve rounded up a checklist for those expecting.

Make yourself comfortable

Considering you’re driving around an instant two people, make sure you’re comfortable when you get behind the wheel. Being nice and cozy in the driver seat before you head out ensures less distractions when you’re already driving.

Adjust your seat so that you have enough room. We know the right positioning can be a little confusing because of how your body has changed, but as a general rule, your breastbone should be 10 inches from the steering wheel. You can even pack small pillows for your back to make sure it has proper support.

Use the seat belt properly

Yep, it can get tricky. But, here’s how it should go:

Your seat belt should be below your belly bump and the lock should be at your hips. The shoulder belt should run across your breasts to the side of your bump. Remove extra layers like thick jackets to make sure everything is fastened and secured in the right places.

Take breaks

There’s no shame in stopping to take a driving breather. You are carrying another human, so you’re excused. Make sure you stop and pause every 90 minutes for a toilet break. Use this opportunity to rest your feet and relax.

Be prepared

Like a true girl scout, make sure you’ve stocked your car with supplies and much-needed snacks. Always have a bottle of water ready and pick health food you can nibble on ahead of time for your drives. Have all your info with you in the car — including your doctor’s number and pregnancy details — just in case. Also, it helps to plan your routes ahead and schedule your drives.

Check yourself

You know yourself best so before heading out, assess how you feel. Make sure you’re feeling alright and consider how you’ll be feeling in the coming hour. Be honest with yourself and recognize that there might be days when you’re better off not heading out on your own. The best preparation is prevention.

Lastly, congratulations girl! 🎉


Thanks to our friends at Ford for sending over some driving tips and inspiring this piece. 

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