Newsflash: Porsche Mission R is preview van nieuwe 718 Boxster / Cayman


+++ A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has revealed that drivers using Tesla’s AUTOPILOT system are less attentive when the system is enabled. The report has been following Tesla Model S and Model X owners during their daily routine over a year or more in the greater Boston area. These vehicles were equipped with the Real-time Intelligent Driving Environment Recording data acquisition system1 that collects data from the CAN bus, GPS, and three 720p video cameras. These sensors track a driver’s interaction with key vehicle controls, mileage, location and driver’s posture, face, and the view in front of the vehicle, Tech Crunch reports. Having collected almost 500,000 miles worth of data, the MIT study revealed that “visual behavior patterns change before and after Autopilot disengagement”. Specifically, the study says that “before disengagement, drivers looked less on road and focused more on non-driving related areas compared to after the transition to manual driving. The higher proportion of off-road glances before disengagement to manual driving were not compensated by longer glances ahead”. The study revealed that a majority of off-road glances were directed downwards and toward the center stack region and were presumed to be “non-driving related”. These glances, which are associated with the driver looking at their mobile phone or infotainment system, were longer and far more frequent when Autopilot was engaged than when the driver was in control of the vehicle. The release of this study comes shortly after Elon Musk announced that Tesla is starting to roll out its latest ‘Fully Self-Driving’ beta system to thousands of additional Tesla owners. The automaker has revealed it will use telemetry data to capture personal driving data over a seven-day period to ensure drivers using the system remain attentive enough. This data could also be used to form a safety rating that tracks the owner’s vehicle and is linked to their insurance. +++

+++ HONDA has announced plans to expand its collaboration with Google and will introduce a new vehicle with the tech company’s in-vehicle connected services in 2022. “It is our great pleasure to be able to offer new value for mobility and people’s daily lives all around the world by combining Honda’s strengths in advanced technologies in automobile development and Google’s strengths in innovative information technologies”, said Satoshi Takami, head of Mobility as a Service operations at Honda. Honda is looking to make its UX easier to use by introducing Google‘s voice assistant, navigation, and in-vehicle apps to its infotainment system. Google Assistant will be installed in the vehicle from the factory, allowing occupants to complete tasks via voice controls. That will mean drivers can get directions, control media, and complete smartphone actions without taking their eyes off the road. Google Maps will also be available natively through the vehicle’s infotainment system. Not only will that mean a solid map app, it will also be designed to work seamlessly with Google Assistant. The Google Play marketplace, meanwhile, will give owners access to a suite of in-car apps that allow them to listen to music, play podcasts, and more without ever having to consider using their smartphone in the car. Honda says it will start by rolling these services out in the all-new model that is coming in North America in the second half of 2022 and will expand the services globally in stages from there. “Honda will continue to take on challenges to create new value while rapidly addressing the transformation of mobility without being bound by the conventional wisdom of the automobile industry”, says Takami. +++

+++ Last month’s revelation that MERCEDES was temporarily discontinuing most of its V8 models in the U.S. would have been earth-shattering news 5 years ago. But given the mess Covid, the shortage of semiconductors, and global logistics problems have caused other carmakers, Merc’s explanation that supply chain issues were to blame seemed entirely plausible. Now though, it appears that quality issues could be the true culprit. At the Munich Motor, Mercedes’ head of the Top End Vehicle Group, Philipp Schiemer, seems to suggest an alternative to the company’s official stance. “I cannot provide you with more details. It’s a quality issue”, Schiemer told. “We are updating our vehicles every year, and we are not satisfied with the quality. And for us it’s quality first. So we have to do some retesting and this is the process we are in at the moment. So it depends from model to model…it’s from vehicle to vehicle, from country to country a different kind of situation”. When Schiemer was asked if he could go into more detail about the quality issues, he simply replied: “No”. It’s difficult to reconcile Schiemer’s explanation that quality issues are to blame with his assertion that the problem doesn’t affect all cars and all markets. V8 powered cars account for a much bigger percentage of Mercedes and Mercedes-AMG sales in North America than they do in Europe, and the withdrawal of big-engined GLC, GLE, E-Class, G-Wagens will leave a big hole in the Benz’s U.S. model range. But the new S580 is still available, and Aston Martin, which uses AMG V8s in its Vantage, DB11, and DBX SUV, has gone on record as saying it won’t be affected. +++

+++ Former NISSAN chief executive Carlos Ghosn has criticized Nissan in a new interview while promoting his book, Broken Alliances. Ghosn says that many within Nissan didn’t like the idea of him pushing for greater collaboration within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and instead wanted more autonomy. Since his departure and arrest, Ghosn suggested that it has been all downhill for the Japanese automaker. “Nissan came back to what it was in 1999, unfortunately, after 19 years of work, as a boring and mediocre car company, which is going to be struggling to try to find its place in the car industry”, he said. “We were building a system where this company would be a part of something completely new with a lot of technical innovation”. Discussing his new book, Ghosn said it tells his side of the story, rather than the story that has been pushed by Nissan since his arrest. “The Japanese government and some Japanese executives thought that this balance existing between the French and the Japanese in this alliance would not be respected”, Ghosn said, adding that “the French government was acting in a way to have a much bigger share in their say of this alliance”. Ghosn went on to explain that he had become so desperate after watching the behavior of the judges and prosecutors while he was in custody in Japan, that he decided to initiate his daring escape. While he did manage to escape, he left behind former executive vice president of Nissan, Greg Kelly, who is currently on trial for allegedly failing to fully report Ghosn’s compensation. “Greg Kelly is still in Japan as a hostage of the system, being tried on a single charge of complicity. It’s a joke”, Ghosn explained. “He’s still waiting for a judgment decision that I understand will take place in March 2022, which is 3 years after the arrest, just to tell you how artificial this move was in order to stop the merger and development of this group of companies”. +++

+++ PORSCHE travelled to the 2021 Munich auto show to unveil a race car-like concept named Mission R. On the surface, it illustrates one way to take electric technology to the track. In application, it’s reportedly a thinly-veiled preview of the 718 Boxster and Cayman duo’s electric replacements. The Mission R (pictured) illustrates what the next 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman could look like. Porsche reportedly added the track-inspired body kit to mask the production car’s design, but the wider headlights (a styling cue shared with the Taycan) are among the features that could make the leap from the show floor to the showroom floor. While the concept’s interior is race-ready, complete with a roll cage and a single seat, the production car’s will be significantly toned down and very high-tech. The range will again include a coupe and a convertible, and the latter will retain its power-folding soft top, according to the same report. Using a power-folding hard top would add weight while creating an unwanted degree of overlap between the Boxster and the Cayman. Going electric will add weight as well, but Porsche will mitigate bloating by building the 718s on a purpose-designed platform. Some bits (like the electronics) will be shared with PPE-based cars, but the architecture will largely be developed for low-slung sports cars. As a result, the project’s target weight is under 1.650 kilos. For context, the current Boxster tips the scale at 1.410 kilos. What remains to be seen is what effect an Audi A4-like weight will have on the 718’s famously nimble handling. Interestingly, one advantage of going electric is that Porsche will be able to offer several powertrain configurations. Base models will ship with a rear-mounted electric motor, but some variants will receive a second motor mounted over the front axle for through-the-road all-wheel-drive, a first in the Boxster’s long history. Driving range will check in at over 400 km, though Porsche hopes to improve that figure. It’ll take a few years for the Mission R to transition into the next 718. Sales are tentatively scheduled to start for the 2025 model year. The current-generation 718s may be sold alongside their electric replacements for a brief period, a strategy Porsche has confirmed it’s adopting for the Macan, but the looming Euro 7 regulations set to come into effect by the end of 2025 will likely kill them by making gasoline-powered cars prohibitively expensive. That’s assuming that the rumor is true, and that plans don’t change in the meantime. +++

+++ TESLA is getting ready to launch its first model in the Indian market but an unforeseen problem has arisen. The Tesla Model 3 was expected to debut in India but it seems that its ground clearance isn’t compatible with the majority of the roads in India. The stock Model 3 has a ground clearance of 140 mm which is not enough to avoid scraping its floor on the large speed bumps commonly found in India. It is rumored that Tesla is planning on raising the ride height by at 25 mm for the Indian-spec Model 3, since the coil-spring suspension can’t be adjusted by local dealerships. Idiada Automotive Technology tested the car on 200 different speed bumps in India, with the Model 3 scraping its bottom on 160 of them. Fully electric models are usually sitting close to the ground due to floor-mounted batteries and aerodynamic efficiency. At the same time, electric platforms often come with a long wheelbase allowing better use of cabin space but at the same time worsening the ramp breakover angles. This means more automakers will face similar issues when launching their EV models in the Indian market. Idiada claims they had belly-scraping issues with the Mercedes-Benz EQC and the local bestseller Tata Nexon, despite the fact that those models are SUVs. The situation is better with models featuring air suspension like the Tesla Model X, the Audi e-Yron and the Jaguar I-Pace (optional equipment). Given the circumstances, Tesla might reconsider their model strategy and arrive in India with the Model Y. Currently, the electric SUV is said to be under homologation for the Indian market. Since all the aforementioned details are based on reports, we will have to wait and see which is going to be the next move for Tesla. +++

+++ TOYOTA ‘s original Prius wasn’t the first gasoline-electric model ever designed, but it’s the car that deserves credit for bringing the technology to the masses. The next Prius will be just as pioneering, according to a report, because it will be offered with a hydrogen-electric system. Unnamed sources at Toyota say that the fifth-generation Prius will join Toyota’s hydrogen offensive. While the Mirai is equipped with a fuel cell that uses hydrogen to produce the electricity needed to spin the wheels, the next Prius will reportedly gain a hydrogen-burning engine very similar to the 3-cylinder unit that Toyota built for its experimental Corolla race car earlier in 2021. It will work jointly with the next evolution of Toyota’s hybrid system, which consists of a battery pack, a motor, and the required electronics. Lapping a track in a prototype is relatively easy; building a car that thousands of motorists can reliably use daily, in a variety of conditions, is much more difficult. That’s why the hydrogen-electric Prius won’t arrive until 2025, according to the same source. Whether it will be sold in the Netherlands (where the hydrogen infrastructure is still developing at best) remains to be seen. Japan may be its largest market. Hydrogen will help the Prius stand out in the Toyota range once again. When it made its debut, the technology it offered was mind-blowingly unique. Fast forward 24 years later, and there are 10 hybrids in the Toyota line-up, many which use the same basic system as the Prius. Not every version of the next Prius will ride the hydrogen train. The model is allegedly scheduled to arrive in December 2022 (meaning it will likely be branded a 2023 model) with a more conventional gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain built around a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The plug-in hybrid will make a comeback as well, likely with powertrain improvements that increase its electric range. Toyota hasn’t commented, though it has repeatedly stressed that it’s committed to democratizing hydrogen technology, and it hasn’t said a word about the fifth-generation Prius. If the rumor is true, we’ll soon find out more about the hybrid poster child’s next move. +++

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