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Ford reveals electric range, set to overtake fuel by 2022

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At the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany this week, Ford revealed its most comprehensive line-up of electrified vehicles, which it says will surpass sales of conventional petrol- and diesel-models by the end of 2022 in Europe.

Earlier this year, Ford announced that every new Ford passenger vehicle nameplate will include an electrified option – either a mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric – delivering one of the most comprehensive line-ups of electrified options for European customers. The company is launching 17 electrified vehicles in Europe by 2024, including eight in 2019.

Ford expects electrified powertrains to account for more than half of the company’s passenger vehicle sales by the end of 2022, creating a tipping point for Ford’s electrified vehicle sales versus conventional petrol and diesel sales. By this time, the company also expects to have sold 1 million electrified passenger vehicles.

“With electrification fast becoming the mainstream, we are substantially increasing the number of electrified models and powertrain options for our customers to choose from to suit their needs,” said Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe. “By making it easier than ever to seamlessly shift into an electrified vehicle, we expect the majority of our passenger vehicle sales to be electrified by the end of 2022.”

Ford’s fully electrified Frankfurt show stand features the most extensive line-up of electrified vehicles that Ford has yet displayed, including:

  • The all-new Kuga Plug-In Hybrid variant of the all-new mid-size SUV – Ford’s most electrified vehicle ever and the first Ford to offer mild-hybrid, self-charging full-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains
  • The all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid seven-seat SUV and the new Tourneo Custom Plug-In Hybrid eight-seat people-mover – each offering pure-electric driving capability alongside the driving range and freedom offered by a traditional combustion engine
  • The new Puma EcoBoost Hybrid SUV-inspired compact crossover, featuring sophisticated mild-hybrid technology for reduced CO2 emissions, optimised fuel-efficiency, and a more responsive and rewarding driving experience, shown in stylish Titanium X specification for the first time
  • The Ford Mondeo Hybrid wagon, featuring self-charging, full-hybrid, petrol-electric powertrain technology that offers a compelling alternative to diesel and offers pure electric driving for refinement particularly in city and stop-start driving scenarios

Ford’s new Mustang-inspired all-electric performance SUV will arrive in 2020, with a targeted pure-electric driving range of 600 km (more than 370 miles) calculated using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), and fast-charging capability.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution when it comes to electrification – every customer’s circumstances and travel needs are different,” said Joerg Beyer, executive director, Engineering, Ford of Europe. “Our strategy is to pair the right electrified powertrain option to the right vehicle, helping our customers make their electrified vehicle experience easy and enjoyable.”

Seamless charging solutions

Ford will partner with six leading energy suppliers across Europe to provide home charging wall box installation services and green energy tariffs for plug-in hybrid customers, enabling simpler, faster and more affordable charging of electrified vehicles.

Ford recently announced it is set to work with Centrica to offer services in the U.K. and Ireland. Ford’s energy partners will also make their installation services available to support Ford’s dealership networks across Europe.

Ford’s wall box solution will deliver up to 50 per cent more charging power than a typical domestic socket to reduce at-home charging times by up to one-third for customers of Ford’s plug-in hybrid models.

“Our partnerships with leading energy suppliers including Centrica allow us to offer a one-stop shop for charging, including supply, installation, and special green energy tariffs for our fast charging wall box,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing Sales & Service, Ford of Europe.

Ford is also introducing a new smartphone and tablet application that will enable its plug-in hybrid vehicle owners and operators to easily locate, navigate to and pay for charging. In partnership with NewMotion, Ford offers access to the largest public charging network with extensive coverage across Europe. The new app will deliver simplified access and payment for Ford customers at more than 118,000 charging points in 30 countries. Customers will be able to seamlessly utilise charging points across many markets, initiating and paying for charging services from a single account for a simplified ownership experience.

In addition, in combination with the available FordPass Connect on-board modem, the FordPass mobile app enables Ford plug-in hybrid drivers to remotely monitor their vehicle’s charge status.

Ford also is a founder member and shareholder in the IONITY consortium that aims to build 400 fast-charging stations in key European locations by 2020, with a charging capacity of 350 kW. This enables a significant reduction in charging times for all-electric vehicles compared with existing systems – ideal for long distance journeys.

Making it easier than ever to Go Electric

Ford’s new Go Electric experience also debuts at the show, helping de-mystify electrification for customers. Visitors to the Go Electric experience will discover interactive exhibits, immersive experiences and an exciting, world-first electric vehicle acceleration simulator.

At Go Electric, consumers will find a range of experiences designed to help them better understand electrified driving technologies from today and tomorrow, and discover which solutions are best for them.

Go Electric experiences include:

  • A world-first electric vehicle acceleration simulator, replicating the thrill of unbroken linear acceleration delivered by all-electric performance
  • An augmented reality journey explaining the different electrified propulsion options offered by Ford and how each works – from the 48-volt mild-hybrid technology of the all-new Ford Puma to Ford’s forthcoming Mustang-inspired all-electric performance SUV
  • An interactive touchscreen experience designed to help customers understand which electrified technologies and products best suits their lifestyle
  • A hands-on interactive exhibit using real charging hardware to help customers understand how quickly plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles can be charged in multiple scenarios

Show-goers will be able to visit Go Electric at the Frankfurt Motor Show until September 22 before the experience embarks on a European tour, moving to Italy, France, Spain and the U.K. through 2019 and early 2020.

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Did an earthquake take out SA Internet?

Seabed avalanches caused by an earthquake could have cut several undersea cables, leading to one of South Africa’s biggest Internet outages yet, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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Picture by TooMuchCoffeeMan from pixabay.com

There is still no official explanation for freak breaks 11 days ago in two separate undersea cables that provide international access to South Africa’s Internet users. However, as reported in the Sunday Times yesterday, the most common causes of such breaks are damage by ship anchors and earthquakes at sea.

However, the freak occurrence of two separate cables being cut simultaneously far out at sea, as happened on the morning of 16 January, can only be explained by sea-bed activity.  One of the cables was cut in two places, and it is widely believed that a third major cable was also cut.

The cable damage mostly occurred in or near an area called the Congo Canyon, which starts inland and extends 220km into the sea. It is known for having the world’s strongest “turbidity currents”, underwater sediment avalanches over hundreds of kilometers, which are known to destroy undersea cables.

The most likely culprit is a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Atlantic Ocean near Ascension Island shortly before the cables were cut on the morning of 16 January. The earthquake occurred just before 8am South African time, and local ISPs reported losing international access from just before 10am. The epicentre of the earthquake was more than a thousand kilometres off the coast of Africa, but disturbances caused by seismic activity at sea become more powerful as they approach the coast. Combined with turbidity currents, this could well have taken out all cables in the area.

The West Africa Cable System (WACS) was cut in two places, and the South Atlantic 3 (SAT3) cable in one location. Industry insiders believe that the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable was also cut, but it has not been publicly confirmed.

South Africa is connected to the global Internet via seven such cables, with a total capacity of 42.3 terabits per second (tbps).  These cables, in turn, connect to additional cables connecting the West and East coasts of Africa, with a single cable running from Angola to Brazil providing another 40 tbps.

However, it emerged in the past week that smaller ISPs in South Africa had bought capacity on only one or two cables. In a freak occurrence, two of the most commonly used cables, the WACS and SAT 3 cables, were cut simultaneously, plunging millions of Internet users into data darkness.

Customers of the major mobile network operators – Vodacom and MTN – were largely unaffected, as these tend to have both part-ownership and access to most of the cables running up both the East and West coasts of Africa.

Visit the next page to read about how ISPs have battled to reroute access, how massive resources are needed to deal with these kinds of outages, and when the ship will reach the breakage points.

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Lenovo express-delivers new range from CES to SA

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Lenovo has unveiled its new range of ThinkBook laptops, barely two weeks after they were showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 

The company’s newest sub-brand, ThinkBook, is intended to meet the demand for more aesthetically pleasing, yet agile and powerful devices.

The new range is aimed at small and medium enterprises. According to the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), there are more than 2-million SMEs in South Africa – although there are only 667,433 in the formal sector. This tallies with estimates in recent editions of SME Survey, produced by World Wide Worx, which suggest 650,000 active, formal businesses in South Africa. These SMEs employ about 14% of the South African workforce. 

Lenovo argues that access to affordable, yet efficient, technology is a crucial factor in aiding business success and contributing towards the success of the nation. The company has found, in its own research, that younger people prefer working, creating and communicating online “with stylish devices that make a statement”. This means they require streamlined laptops which can be used to collaborate from any remote location, to enhance productivity.

Lenovo said in a statement on Thursday night: “Backed by customer research, ThinkBook is specially designed for SMEs, who typically purchase consumer laptops for perceived design and price advantages but can no longer rationalise their lack of extended services and warranties – core needs of any business. ThinkBook allows growing firms to keep a competitive edge in attracting today’s young tech-savvy execs with trendy yet cost-effective devices. 

Thibault Dousson, general manager of  Lenovo for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said at the launch event: “With the capacity, SMEs have to grow and upskill the country’s workforce, they are perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between the public sector and large enterprise. Bearing in mind the demands of the digital economy, this sector needs skills and resources in order to compete, and that is where devices such as the ThinkBook come in.”

In South Africa, ThinkBook laptops are now available in 13-, 14- and 15-inch variants. The flagship ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15 devices are powered by Windows 10 Pro and up to 10th Gen Intel Core processing, which Lenovo says combines high performance with intuitive, time-saving features. Options include Intel Optane memory, WiFi 6, and discrete graphics.

The ThinkBook 15 comes at just 18.9mm thin, while the ThinkBook 14 is a mere 17.9mm, both with FHD displays and two Dolby Audio speakers, dual-array, Skype certified microphones and a USB 3.1 (Gen2, Type-C) port.

Lenovo has also introduced the ThinkBook S series, including an elegant 13.3-inch ThinkBook 13s. The sleek and light device is constructed of a metallic finish on an all-aluminium chassis, alongside a narrow bezel display. As with the ThinkBook 14 and 15, the ThinkBook 13s also features advanced Intel processing and an FHD display, Dolby Vision and Harman speakers with Dolby Audio.

Visit the next page to read about the design and features of the new ThinkBook range.

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