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Nissan reveals next step in its electric future

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Nissan has unveiled plans around the four key pillars of its future electric ecosystem in Europe, launching of new electric vehicles, additional infrastructure investment, battery charging and home storage advances.

It also presented a revolutionary new vision to give Nissan customers free power for their EV using its unique bi-directional charging technology. The announcements were made at the third Nissan Futures event, “The Car and Beyond”, in Oslo, Norway.

“Nissan kick-started the electric vehicle revolution almost a decade ago,” said Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe.  “In that time, we’ve sold more EVs than any other manufacture on the planet. Now we’re outlining our plans for the next decade, which will see even bigger investments in infrastructure, new battery advances and will even change the way people access and pay for the power in their cars. Put simply, we’ve been doing it longer than anyone else, we’ve sold more than anyone else, and we have a more exciting plan for the future than anyone else.”

New vehicles

Headlining the Nissan Futures 3.0 event was the European premiere of the new Nissan LEAF, with a special “2.ZERO” version for Europe. As the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the new Nissan LEAF is capable of travelling 378km on a single charge* and is packed with ingenious technology, including ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system for a safer, more comfortable drive and ProPILOT Park for fully autonomous parking. The car’s e-Pedal technology also lets motorists drive and brake seamlessly, while a sleeker design makes the world’s best-selling electric vehicle even more desirable than before.

Another new product announced at Nissan Futures was the new longer-range 100% electric van – the e-NV200. With a 280km range*, Europe’s best selling electric van, can now travel 100km further than ever before on a single charge – a 60% range improvement. And, with no increase in size or weight of the battery itself, customers do not have to compromise in either load space or payload. Crucially, it can help make 100% electric last mile delivery a reality for businesses and professional drivers everywhere.

Infrastructure commitment

Nissan announced its plan to expand its existing outdoor charging network in Europe by 20% over the next 18 months. Working with EV fast charging standard CHAdeMO, the company has already built Europe’s most comprehensive charging network, with over 4600 quick chargers across the region. Nissan now plans to invest in supporting the installation of a further 1000 chargers over the next 18 months. The company is working with its partners, business owners, municipalities and sector leaders across Europe to ensure the roll out plans are focused on providing maximum convenience to its drivers, with installations on highways, in towns, and throughout key European cities.

New battery advances

Nissan also announced its new 2018 range of home and office charging units giving more choice to owners than ever before.

The Nissan double speed 7kW home charger allows Nissan electric vehicle owners to achieve 100% charge in just 5.5 hours – a 70% reduction in charging time from the previous charging technology. The double speed charger has been designed to benefit consumer EV owners, with faster home charging than Nissan has ever offered before.

The Nissan 22kW charger goes even faster, capable of charging your Nissan EV in just two hours. Designed for fleet and business owners, the super-fast charger can also be purchased by consumers who want an even quicker charging experience.

Nissan also showcased its new home energy storage system, which follows on from the success of xStorage. Created especially for EV owners, customers can plug their electric vehicle directly into the wall box to charge. It comes with its own built in energy storage system, giving customers the ability to better manage their energy costs and even generate their own electricity from solar panels, delivering 100% renewable and zero emission power for their car.

It follows the success of Nissan’s existing xStorage solution, which was developed in partnership with Eaton and has sold more than 1,000 units across Europe in just three months, with 5,000 units expected to be sold by the end of March 2018. Nissan expects to sell 100,000 home energy units by the end of FY2020 in Europe.

The new range of home and office charging units will be available from early 2018.

Revolutionary free energy breakthrough for EV drivers

Nissan also revealed its bold mission to offer customers free power for its EVs.

Over the past year in Denmark, Nissan has been testing this revolutionary new way of driving and today, this has become an offer open to all fleet customers throughout the country. Using Nissan bi-directional charging, customers can draw energy from the grid to power their car or van and then “sell” back to the grid for others to use. This means, once a nominal charge has been paid by the business for the installation of a V2G charger there are no fuel or energy costs – just free power for your EV.

And Denmark is just the start. Nissan also announced a UK collaboration with OVO allowing customers to purchase an xStorage home energy unit at a discounted price enabling them to “sell” back energy to the grid. This helps contribute to grid stability in a world where demand for energy is increasing due to a growing, urbanizing population. It can result in an additional expected income for users averaging £350 / €400 per year.

Nissan is already exploring other regions in Europe to make free power for EVs a milestone for the future.

“Step by step, we are removing any barriers to electric vehicle adoption, from infrastructure investment to how people access the power itself,” said Willcox. “Over the coming decades, through our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, the electric ecosystem will transform modern life as we know it. But while the starting point for it is 100% electric vehicles like the new LEAF and e-NV200, the impact goes much further. With fewer emissions, our cities and air will be cleaner. With more intelligent safety features, car accidents would be reduced dramatically. With better connections between vehicles and their surroundings, the school run or daily commute will no longer be clogged with traffic. And by letting people charge their vehicle and their home from each other, we can use our time and energy supplies more efficiently than ever.”

Cars

Why sports cars make us feel good

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Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. 

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss. 

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:

  • High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
  • 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
  • 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

Activity Buzz Moments *
Roller Coaster 3
Driving 2.1
Shopping 1.7
Game of Thrones 1.5
Football Game 1.5
Kissing 0
Salsa Dancing 0
Dining 0

* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant

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Car that sees round corners

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Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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