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Electric cars more than just about the vehicle

By MAKOTO UCHIDA – Nissan senior vice president and chairman of the Management Committee for China

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At Nissan, we have known for a long time that the future of mobility will be more electric, more connected and more autonomous. But to turn the promise of an electric mobility future into a reality, it will require more than one kind of electric vehicle technology. It will require a multi-power strategy.

This week, I joined the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China. It was an honor to participate, representing Nissan as chairman of our Management Committee for China. There were many important and innovative ideas discussed at the meeting, and it was clear that there is very strong momentum for building a sustainable electric mobility future for China. At Nissan, we are thinking big when it comes to EV technology. Along with autonomous driving and connectivity, electrification forms the heart of our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision to move people to a better world.

This is an important moment for electric mobility in China and across the world. As EV markets develop rapidly, they face challenges including reduced government incentives, charging infrastructures that remains inadequate in most of the world, concerns about the driving range of current EV battery technology, and the need for faster EV development. At the same time, different customers have different needs. There is no “one size fits all” solution for all countries and all regions, as they differ in size, economic strength, infrastructure and customer needs.

Nissan has been thinking about these challenges for a long time. To address them, we are embracing a multi-power strategy that is more market-focused and more customer-focused. We are also drawing on our 70-year history of developing EV technologies and our long track record of selling exciting and reliable electric cars to the mass market.

For example, today the Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling EV with more than 400,000 vehicles sold worldwide. It has also proven its reliability through more than 10 billion kilometers driven. In China, the Nissan Sylphy Zero Emission, our first EV made in China for China, is now on sale. This past April in Shanghai, we announced that we will bring our unique e-POWER technology to China within the next two years. e-POWER uses a 100% electric motor that is powered by a gasoline engine. We are also continuing to research other EV technologies like hydrogen, fuel cells, hybrid and others to see how they can also be part of the long-term solution.

Nissan and our joint venture partner in China, Dongfeng Motor Ltd. (DFL), have made electrification a central part of our midterm business plan, called DFL TRIPLE One. According to the plan, by 2022 we aim to have 20 electrified models (EV and e-POWER), 30% of all sales electrified, three key e-components shared by EV and e-POWER to be 100% localized within three years, and more battery recycling, reuse, and power storage facilities to be built by 2022.

To support the goals of our DFL midterm plan, we will continue to embrace this multi-power strategy for electrification in China. We will follow an approach that brings the right products to market only when the market is ready and design products to meet the specific needs of Chinese consumers. We are confident in this approach. However, we can’t do it alone. We need the continued collaboration with the government, both central and local, and our partners on this approach.

But what happens in China’s EV market will also send clear signals to other nations trying to transition to an electric mobility future. That is why, at the World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian, I encouraged the public and private sectors in China and across the world to embrace this multi-power and multi-energy strategy to meet the diversified needs of consumers in different regions. This approach will speed the adoption of EV technologies by more customers everywhere.

This is the right path forward for realizing the full potential of electric mobility. Nissan stands ready to do our part to ensure that this future arrives soon.

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Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets

Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds

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Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.

South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.

Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds. 

The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact

The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users. 

These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant. 

Other key findings in the report include: 

  • Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person. 
  • Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school. 
  • Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides. 
    • People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services. 
    •  There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education. 
    •  Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information. 

These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report. 

Read the full report at https://www.pewinternet.org/2019/08/22/in-emerging-economies-smartphone-and-social-media-users-have-broader-social-networks.

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Nokia to be first with Android 10

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Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.

Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range. 

“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”

HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.

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