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Nissan unveils new Leaf – and new era

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Nissan yesterday introduced the new Nissan Leaf, the next version of its zero-emission electric vehicle. The Leaf will now offer drivers a range of up to 400km and uses a 110kW motor.

The Nissan LEAF has been completely reinvented, combining greater range with a dynamic new design and advanced technologies*, representing Nissan’s technological leadership.

“The new Nissan LEAF drives Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is the core brand strategy for Nissan’s future,” said Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan. “The new Nissan LEAF, with its improved range, combined with the evolution of autonomous drive technology such as ProPILOT Park, and the simple operation of the e-Pedal, strengthens Nissan’s EV leadership as well as the expansion of EVs globally. It also has core strengths that will be embodied by future Nissan models.”

The most advanced e-powertrain

The new Nissan LEAF offers a range of 400 km, allowing drivers to enjoy a safer and longer journey. The new e-powertrain gives the new Nissan LEAF 110 kW of power output and 320 Nm of torque, improving acceleration and driver enjoyment.

Evolved autonomous drive technologies

The new LEAF features ProPILOT autonomous drive technology, used during single-lane driving on the highway.

It also offers ProPILOT Park. When activated, the car’s ProPILOT Park technology takes control of steering, acceleration, braking, shift-changing and the parking brake to automatically guide it into a parking spot. It enables the driver to park safely and simply, even when parallel parking.

e-Pedal to reduce stress

The new LEAF’s revolutionary e-Pedal technology transforms the way people drive. It lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically, bringing the car to a complete stop. The car holds its position, even on steep uphill slopes, until the accelerator is pressed again. The reactiveness of the e-Pedal maximizes EV driving pleasure.

Exterior design: sleek silhouette and “cool tech attitude”

The new Nissan LEAF’s design includes a low, sleek profile that gives it a sharp, dynamic look. Along with excellent aerodynamics, the styling – from the sleek silhouette to the car’s “advanced expression” – evokes the exhilaration of driving an EV.

Familiar Nissan design features include the signature boomerang-shaped lamps and V-motion flow in the front. The flash-surface grille in clear blue and the rear bumper’s blue molding identify the car as a Nissan EV.

Interior design: premium ambience with a clean, relaxed, high-tech feeling

The new Nissan LEAF’s completely redesigned cabin is focused on the driver, featuring a front panel in the form of a “gliding wing.” It combines an excellent use of space with functionality.

The interior design creates a relaxed ambience and premium quality feel, due to carefully selected materials. Vibrant blue stitching in the seats, dashboard and steering wheel has been incorporated as a symbol of Nissan’s electric vehicles. The 7-inch, full-color (TFT) display has been redesigned to highlight key features, such as the Safety Shield technology power gauge and audio and navigation system information. Apple CarPlay has also been added.

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For customers who want more excitement and performance, Nissan will also offer a version with more power and longer range at a higher price in 2018 (timing may vary by market).

The new Nissan LEAF will go on sale Oct. 2 in Japan. The model is slated for deliveries in January 2018 in the U.S., Canada and Europe. It will be sold in more than 60 markets worldwide.

2017 Nissan LEAF specifications (Japan model)

Specifications are based on the latest product information available at the time of release. Specifications for other regions will be announced at the start of sales.

2017 Nissan LEAF specifications (Japan model)
Specifications are based on the latest product information available at the time of release. Specifications for other regions will be announced at the start of sales.

Exterior
Overall length 4,480 mm
Overall width 1,790 mm
Overall height 1,540 mm
Wheelbase 2,700 mm
Track width front/rear 1,530-1,540 mm/1,545-1,555 mm
Minimum ground clearance 150 mm
Coefficient of drag 0.28 Cd
Tires 205/55R16 or 215/50R17
Cargo area (VDA) 435 L

 

Weight/capacity
Curb weight 1,490-1,520 kg
Capacity 5 passengers
Gross vehicle weight 1,765-1,795 kg

 

Battery  
Type Li-ion battery
Capacity 40 kWh

 

Electric motor  
Name EM57
Maximum output 110 kW (150ps)/3283~9795 rpm
Maximum torque 320 N・m (32.6kgf・m)/0~3283 rpm

 

Performance  
Cruising range 400km (JC08)
Charging time (normal charging) 16 hours (3 kW)
8 hours (6 kW)
Charging time from alert to 80% (quick charging) 40 minutes

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Meet Aston Martin F1’s incredible moving data centre

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team faces a great deal more IT challenges than your average enterprise as not many IT teams have to rebuild their data center 21 times each year and get it running it up in a matter of hours. Not many data centers are packed up and transported around the world by air and sea along with 45 tonnes of equipment. Not many IT technicians also have to perform a dual role as pit stop mechanic.

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The trackside garage at an F1 race is a tight working environment and a team of only two IT technicians face pressure from both the factory and trackside staff to get the trackside IT up and running very fast. Yet, despite all these pressures, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing do not have a cloud-led strategy. Instead they have chosen to keep all IT in house.

The reason for this is performance. F1 is arguably the ultimate performance sport. A walk round the team’s factory in Milton Keynes, England, makes it abundantly clear that the whole organization is hell bent on maximizing performance. 700 staff at the factory are all essentially dedicated to the creation of just two cars. The level of detail that is demanded in reaching peak performance is truly mind blowing. For example, one machine with a robotic arm that checks the dimensions of the components built at the factory is able to measure accuracy to a scale 10 times thinner than a human hair.

This quest for maximum performance, however, is hampered at every turn by the stringent rules from the F1 governing body – the FIA. Teams face restrictions on testing and technology usage in order to prevent the sport becoming an arms race. So, for example, pre-season track testing is limited to only 8 days. Furthermore, wind tunnel testing is only allowed with 60% scale models and wind tunnel-usage is balanced with the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, essentially a virtual wind tunnel. Teams that overuse one, lose time with the other.

In order to maximize performance within uniquely difficult logistical and regulatory conditions, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team has had to deploy a very powerful and agile IT estate.

According to Neil Bailey, Head of IT Infrastructure, Enterprise Architecture and Innovation, their legacy trackside infrastructure was “creaking”. Before choosing hyperconverged infrastructure, their “traditional IT had reached its limits”, says Bailey. “When things reach their limits they break, just like a car,” adds Bailey.

The team’s biggest emphasis for switching to HPE’s hyperconverged infrastructure, SimpliVity, was performance. Now, with “the extra performance of SimpliVity, it means it doesn’t get to its limits,” says Bailey. HPE SimpliVity has helped reduce space, has optimized processing power and brought more agility.

One of the first and most important use cases they switched to hyperconverged infrastructure was post-processing trackside data. During a race weekend each car is typically fitted with over 100 sensors providing key data on things like tyre temperature and downforce multiple times per second. Processing this data and acting on the insights is key to driving performance improvements. With their legacy infrastructure, Bailey says they were “losing valuable track time during free practice waiting for data processing to take place.” Since switching to HPE SimpliVity, data processing has dropped from being more than 15 minutes to less than 5 minutes. Overall, the team has seen a 79% performance boost compared to the legacy architecture. This has allowed for real time race strategy analysis and has improved race strategy decision making.

Data insights helps the team stay one step ahead, as race strategy decisions are data driven. For example, real time tyre temperature data helps the team judge tyre wear and make pit stop decisions. Real time access to tyre data helped the team to victory at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix as the Aston Martin Red Bull cars pitted ahead of the rest of the field and Daniel Ricciardo swept to a memorable victory.

Hyperconverged infrastructure is also well suited to the “hostile” trackside environment, according to Bailey. With hyperconverged infrastructure, only two racks are needed at each race of which SimpliVity only takes up about 20% of the space, thus freeing up key space in very restricted trackside garages. Furthermore, with the team limited to 60 staff at each race, only two of Bailey’s team can travel. The reduction in equipment and closer integration of HPE SimpliVity means engineers can get the trackside data center up and running quickly and allow trackside staff to start work as soon as they arrive.

Since seeing the notable performance gains from using hyperconverged infrastructure for trackside data processing, the team has also transitioned some of the factory’s IT estate over to HPE SimpliVity. This includes: Aerodynamic metrics, ERP system, SQL server, exchange server and the team’s software house, the Team Foundation Server.

As well as seeing huge performance benefits, HPE SimpliVity has significantly impacted the work patterns of Bailey’s team of just ten. According to Bailey, the biggest operational win from hyperconverged infrastructure is “freeing up engineers’ time from focusing on ‘business as usual’ to innovation.” Traditional IT took up too much of the engineers’ time monitoring systems and just keeping things running. Now with HPE SimpliVity, Bailey’s team can “give the business more and quicker” and “be more creative with how they use technology.”

Hyperconverged infrastructure has given Aston Martin Red Bull Racing the speed, scalability and agility they require without any need to turn to the cloud. It allows them to deliver more and more resources to trackside staff in an increasingly responsive manner. However, even with all these performance gains, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has been able to reduce IT costs. So, the users are happy, the finance director is happy and the IT team are happy because their jobs are easier. Hyperconvergence is clearly the right choice for the unique challenges of Formula 1 racing.

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Body-tracking tech moves to assembly line

Technology typically used by the world’s top sport stars to raise their game, or ensure their signature skills are accurately replicated in leading video games, is now being used on an auto assembly line.

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Employees at Ford’s Valencia Engine Assembly Plant, in Spain, are using a special suit equipped with advanced body tracking technology. The pilot system, created by Ford and the Instituto Biomecánica de Valencia, has involved 70 employees in 21 work areas. 

Player motion technology usually records how athletes sprint or turn, enabling sport coaches or game developers to unlock the potential of sport stars in the real world or on screen. Ford is using it to design less physically stressful workstations for enhanced manufacturing quality.

“It’s been proven on the sports field that with motion tracking technology, tiny adjustments to the way you move can have a huge benefit,” said Javier Gisbert, production area manager, Ford Valencia Engine Assembly Plant. “For our employees, changes made to work areas using similar technology can ultimately ensure that, even on a long day, they are able to work comfortably.”

Engineers took inspiration from a suit they saw at a trade fair that demonstrated how robots could replicate human movement and then applied it to their workplace, where production of the  new Ford Transit Connect and 2.0-litre EcoBoost Duratec engines began this month.

The skin-tight suit consists of 15 tiny movement tracking light sensors connected to a wireless detection unit. The system tracks how the person moves at work, highlighting head, neck, shoulder and limb movements. Movement is recorded by four specialised motion-tracking cameras – similar to those usually paired with computer game consoles – placed near the worker and captured as a 3D skeletal character animation of the user.

Specially trained ergonomists then use the data to help employees align their posture correctly. Measurements captured by the system, such as an employee’s height or arm length, are used to design workstations, so they better fit employees. 

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