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

A virtual bike ride with the Galaxy S21 Ultra

Its cameras made me miss it even more

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While I already knew how to ride a simple bike when I was in fifth grade (2008), I became interested in biking just recently — February 2021 to be exact. From my first ride up until I purchased my own bike, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra witnessed all of those precious memories.

At first, I thought I wanted to document my slow weight loss journey by capturing series of mirror selfies each day with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but the smartphone deserves more than that. Little did I know, I became used to the phone’s cameras that I had to stop in a middle of a ride just to capture eye-catching subjects I saw along the way.

As of this writing, the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn’t with me anymore. The nature of phone reviews most people don’t realize is that we don’t even keep the phones with us permanently — no matter how bad we want them.

However, in order to relive the memories (just like how I badly miss the pre-pandemic life), I’m compiling dozens of my favorite shots so you can see that the Galaxy S21 Ultra takes astounding photos even if there are newer flagship phones around.

Canlubang

Let’s start with my current location. As someone who’s less known in this team, I’m not really sensitive when it comes to disclosing some information about myself. While I wasn’t born here, this is the town where I actually grew up.

While there’s nothing super interesting about my current location, it’s actually home to industrial parks or big factories including the Jollibee food factory and other notable brands such as Samsung, Toshiba, Suzuki, among others. Also, it’s the biggest barangay of our city — Calamba to be specific.

Canlubang is also home to one of the biggest golf courses around. Thanks to the S21 Ultra, I was able to squeeze in more details in the shot.

Here are shots of the rainbow I was lucky to see and shoot up close with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This is a friendly life reminder that there is rainbow always after the rain. We shouldn’t always sulk to the gloomy weather we’re used to having every now and then.

And while we’re at it, here’s how it looks like whenever I go home from a late afternoon ride. In the eyes of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, night time needs more tuning using Night Mode — and it works wonders.

Nuvali (Canlubang area)

This is actually my go-to place when biking. One of the perks of living in this town is that it’s also home to other exclusive residential areas with less traffic — which gives me the reason to bike even more.

Not only the roads are well-managed, the air is cleaner and less-polluted too. Most of all, the views are all breathtaking. From the peak of Tagaytay to the silhouettes of the volcanoes Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw in Quezon, I just can’t get enough.

With the camera prowess of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, I was able to take the shots above using its telephoto lenses.

These zoomed photos show how close an area is in the eyes of many, even if they’re not in real life.

People say shooting gradient skies and sunsets is an introvert trait. Maybe they’re right all along 🥴

Solenad, Nuvali (Santa Rosa area)

Solenad is still part of the growing community of Nuvali, but it’s located in another city in Laguna called ‘Santa Rosa’ — more on that later.

Let me just talk about how peaceful and quiet it is here. The man-made lake sure knows how to make me calm after a quick ride from Nuvali.

But with the ongoing lockdown restrictions, hanging out around this place is prohibited. But hey, here’s a dark chocolate cranberry cookie to cheer myself up a li’l bit.

If ever it’s possible to stay in this place again, I surely wouldn’t miss another sunset — even if the Galaxy S21 Ultra isn’t with me anymore 😭.

Marcos Twin Mansion

First bike ride memories using an ultra-wide lens plus its selfie shooter

This is actually where it all started. I was persuaded to start biking by my friend, Ange (who did the amazing artworks in our virtual assistants turned into animé characters piece by the way). I just asked her if the old and unused mountain bike would be enough. She, together with her younger brother, told me it’d suffice and asked me to join them in their future bike rides.

Ultra-wide, zoomed, and wide lenses of the Galaxy S21 Ultra all performed great

Since it was my first time going out of the village (my last bike ride was in high school, and that wasn’t even far), I thought biking there would be easy-peasy. Oh boy, I was wrong. The steep, uphill part is hard especially if you don’t know how to shift gears when using a mountain bike. I just carried my bike with me while walking along that hilly road.

But once you reach the higher part, you’ll be greeted by the old Twin Mansion of the late Ferdinand Marcos — a dictator who held power as the Philippine president for 20 years.

After several tries and rides, I was able to reach this part with less body and leg strain. But this was just the beginning.

Kambal Ahon

I wasn’t joking when I told you there are more steep rides going up the hill. After that mansion, you simply wouldn’t miss going to Kambal Ahon. In a rough English translation, you’ll need to “ascend twice” before you reach the peak.

Before uphill, after ascending, 3x + 10x overlooking shots of NCR

And with the powerful cameras of the S21 Ultra, I was able to capture both 3x and 10x zoomed photos that show the overlooking of Metro Manila (I suppose a part of Alabang) even if the location was several kilometers away from the heart of the Philippines.

RevPal – Tagaytay

If one surpasses the bloody, uphill rides of the Kambal Ahon in Casile, your next destination would be RevPal (Reverse/Palace) — or that peak of Tagaytay you see from afar.

Not only it’s my first time to reach RevPal, I was also able to see People’s Park in the Sky up close for the first time, too.

More overlooking = more fun

Admittedly, this has got to be one of (if not) the most memorable bike rides ever. A day after we went here, the government announced another lockdown due to the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases last March 2021. Also, don’t be like me, but I went here energized even if I barely had any sleep.

To make it even better, it was cold and gloomy — a weather I like so much. I even had some time to pass by Tagaytay City proper and reach as far as Sky Ranch — a theme park in Tagaytay.

RevPal from afar, SkyRanch Tagaytay, Taal Volcano overlooking

This is, by far, the highest bike ride I’ve ever achieved. It also best represents our life: While the process in-between is long and hard to achieve, you’ll be happy to see the result once you reach the peak.

Santa Rosa, Laguna

If you go down South of Tagaytay, the municipality of Santa Rosa in the province of Laguna greets you (which is also popular not just because of Nuvali, but also because of the theme park Enchanted Kingdom).

I usually pass by this area going to and from several places but there’s this one time I wanted to check out a new coffee shop and a Korean street food place that I had to go to by myself.

It was an unlocked achievement for me as I managed to brace the wreckless Filipino drivers as well as heavy traffic. To make it worse, heavy rains poured but the food was all worth it.

Cabuyao, Laguna

In the southern part of Santa Rosa is none other than the city of Cabuyao.

My college alma mater, and an old bridge where I usually pass by before going to school

Not only is this where my college alma mater is located, this is also where my friend lives — so I usually pass by the area if ever she wants me to go to their house first before we initiate a bike ride. I’m not complaining though. That’s more calories burned for me.

Calamba, Laguna

If you pass by the barangay of Mamatid in Cabuyao, you’ll successfully reach Calamba City in no time through Barangay San Cristobal and Uwisan.

This city has a good blend of urban areas as well as fields. It’s also here where you’ll see a clearer view of Mt. Makiling.

Just some boring #HistoryFact, this city was derived from “Kalan-Banga” which is that big clay jar. Back then, a Spanish soldier asked for the name of the place but the woman thought it was about her belongings. She said the latter part.

What makes Calamba more interesting is that, it’s where the actual house of Philippine National Hero José P. Rizal is located. Other than that, there’s also a coliseum (still under construction) named after him.

Pagsanjan, Laguna

At the farther part of Laguna is Pagsanjan — home to the popular Pagsanjan Falls. While I wasn’t able to reach that place, I’m happy enough to shoot a photo with this old Pagsanjan Arch that was built as early as 1878. That’s more than a century ago!

Lumban, Laguna

If you go on a bike from Pagsanjan, you should take the left road to be able to go to this area. Your area of landmark is the Church of Pagsanjan.

Don’t bike with full ease. The roads are actually going uphill — just a slow and steady one (banayad) so that you can feel the pain as you approach it.

Other than seeing the beautiful, naturesque views of the province, you also get to see Laguna de Bay (or Laguna Lake) on the side. For the record, that’s the biggest natural lake in the entire Philippines.

Biñan, Laguna

Going back to the northern part of Laguna is Biñan City. While this isn’t the town proper, we usually go to Southwoods instead for clearer and wider roads meant for a lot of bikers.

It’s several kilometers away from where I live (six expressway exits to be exact for better measure) but there are instances that I go here just to get a good bike race record with my friend that I barely do in uphill areas around our barangay.

I’ve managed to take more gradient sunset photos with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. I honestly love the photo that looked like it was taken out of Stranger Things — just waiting for the Demogorgon to appear.

Muntinlupa

Muntinlupa is just one town away from Biñan, just between them is San Pedro, Laguna.

Other than also being a city located near Laguna Lake, it’s also home to New Bilibid Prison, one of the biggest prison camps in the Philippines. The Jamboree Lake pictured above is actually found inside the area of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) — or that one agency under the Department of Justice (DoJ) for security and reformation purposes. As if the Philippines has enough justice system for the actual criminals.

It wouldn’t be a bike ride without trying more food. This time, it’s the famous Taiyaki (鯛焼き) or the fish-shaped cakes filled with either red bean paste, custard or chocolate filling. If you pass by Muntinlupa, this is definitely a must try since it’s as authentic as its original Japanese owner.

Alabang

This location is currently my farthest bike ride up north. It was in May 2021 when we went here after visiting our friend who lives around the area.

For people who barely know Philippine geography, it’s actually more of a prestigious and exclusive barangay in Muntinlupa City. It’s like the gateway of South Luzon towards Metro Manila — thus, the existence of larger and taller business and retail spaces. And if you were reading earlier, this was the part I shot from the overlooking of Kambal Ahon.

Daang Hari — Evia

Daang Hari and Evia are more of the pass-throughs between Muntinlupa, Laguna, and Cavite.

Unlike zoomed photos in the previous sections, I opted to use its Ultra-Wide this time to emphasize how wide the skies are.

I even let my friend take a photo of me in this openly-wide and vast Evia Football Field.

If you’re into pretty Starbucks shops, Starbucks Evia is your next place to visit. Not only does it have this European vibe, it also has a drive-thru.

Dasmariñas, Cavite

If you go past Evia and down south of Bacoor City, you’ll then pass by the City of Dasmariñas, now in Cavite again.

I honestly can’t believe the shots above were taken with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Not only do they have this particular Depth of Field (DoF) or background blur, they’re also sharp in detail.

Even if you apply certain photo filters, the cameras still delivered excellent levels of shadow all throughout.

Carmona, Cavite

If you turn left and are not thinking of going to Tagaytay, Carmona City is where you’ll end up.

Carmona is the bridge between Cavite and Laguna through the City of Biñan. This is one of Cavite’s less-populated towns which makes it more peaceful and quiet.

Santo Tomas, Batangas

This is where I held my third ride. It’s also where the famous St. Padre Pio Shrine is found. While this isn’t the last ride I’ve had with the phone, this goes last as it’s beyond my usual biking route.

Before going home, we tried their take on Lomi Batangas, but instead of crispy pork rind, they serve a healthier lomi with mushroom in it. Another yum on my biking bucket list!

BONUS: Celestial bodies

Some subjects I find astonishing to shoot whenever I’m having my bike rides are both the Sun and the moon.

I shot this moon as early as four in the morning just before my usual early ride. It’s surprising how sharp the 10x photo was that the 30x failed to achieve.

I also captured and preserved the lunar eclipse event last May 26, 2021. That’s thanks to the phone’s night and zoom capabilities.

While this looked like it was shot at night, I actually captured the Sun just hours before sunset. At first I thought it was just a dead camera pixel. Upon closer inspection, they’re a series of sunspots. Those are unusual to see especially with the naked eye.

All photos were taken using the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and were post-processed using Adobe Lightroom and VSCO.


Quick note

Social distancing and health protocols such as wearing face masks were still followed when biking. The author also dislikes big crowds and always went with his close contacts for better safety and peace of mind.

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Automotive

OPPO has its own digital car keys tech

Uses Bluetooth tech

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OPPO see, OPPO do? At WWDC 2020, Apple showed off a digital car keys feature. The idea is to be able to control your car just with your iPhone. OPPO is exploring the same idea, albeit a little differently.

Through an app called Remote Vehicle Control, currently only compatible with the OPPO Find X3 and OPPO Watch 2, users will be able to unlock their car, among other things. The app also lets you turn on air conditioning and sound the horn from a distance.

The Remote Vehicle Control app relies on Bluetooth to achieve these features. Different from Apple’s implementation which leverages NFC (Near Field Communication) to interact with the car. In Apple’s version, the Wallet app becomes a safe haven for your keys and this is the same app where your Apple Card, as well as other tickets, are stored.

digital car keys

This in-car feature should work with most car models that have Bluetooth equipped. OPPO has formed partnerships with many leading vehicle brands, such as NIO, BYD Auto, and Geely to push the tech forward.

Other than digital car keys, OPPO also showcased in-car flash charge. This is OPPO’s 65W USB flash charge and 40W VOOC wireless flash charge tech installed on selected vehicles.

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Automotive

Honda Philippines launches the New Honda Civic Type R

Honda’s ultimate racing machine just got even better!

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Not everyone buys cars for the same reason. And not all cars are created equal. Some cars are for transport, while some are also for going from point A to point B, but with a whole lotta fun! For racing-bred folks, a VTEC kicking in would definitely put-up smiles.

On the July 27, 2021, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. proudly announced the launch of the New Honda Civic Type R in the country. It boasts a refreshed sporty look that is still quintessentially Civic.

What’s new?

The New Honda Civic Type R features an updated symmetrical design while retaining some of characteristics that gave its predecessor a distinctive look. It now comes equipped with a new front grille design with a thinner grille beam that allows a larger air intake.

Honda knew that if you are going to drive around a Civic Type R, you’d want to squeeze every bit of potential out of it. So, they made improvements on the suspension and brake systems for a more responsive handling. An updated radiator core helps decrease temperature during high-demand driving situations.

Another awesome new feature is the Active Sound Control (ASC), that enhances the cabin sound with engine noise through the audio systems when driving in Sport and +R modes. You’re in a performance car, loud noise is a must (winks).

Driver-assistive functions

Along with the standard safety features such as airbags, Anti-Lock Braking System and more, the New Civic Type R is installed with Honda SENSING for a safer mobility. A monocular camera works in conjunction with wave millimeter radar to monitor and assess the road conditions ahead. Honda’s driver-assistive features include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).

The 2.0 liter VTEC TURBO engine supplies a maximum power output of 310 PS and 400 Nm at peak of torque. Its 6-speed manual transmission is equipped with a ‘rev match control’ system that enables the vehicle to sustain maximum power while changing gears.

Pricing and availability

The New Civic Type R will be available in three colors: Championship White, Racing Blue and Sonic Gray with a price tag of Php 3,210,000.00.

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