T rust the Swedish

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Great New Stuff -

Tech­ni­cally, this isn’t a ve­hic­u­lar in­no­va­tion – rather, an in­fras­truc­tural one. The eroad­ar­landa project is one of many ini­tia­tives now be­ing im­ple­mented to reach the coun­try’s goal of fos­sil-fuel-free trans­porta­tion by 2030. If you’ve ever played with a Scalex­tric set, then you al­ready pretty much know how this new style of road works.

eroad­ar­landa is cur­rently a twok­ilo­me­tre stretch of road between the Ar­landa Cargo ter­mi­nal and the Rosers­berg lo­gis­tics area, and is in­tended for trucks haul­ing cargo between the two ar­eas. En­gi­neers de­signed the rail to be safe by em­bed­ding the con­duc­tive parts deep in the groove. Ve­hi­cles are equipped with a spe­cial arm that de­ploys to make con­tact with the groove. That con­nec­tion also helps clear any wa­ter or de­bris away from the work­ing parts.

In the long term, these tracks will be built into the high­way net­work and the con­struc­tion team says it can be rolled out at a rate of one kilo­me­tre per hour into ex­ist­ing road in­fra­struc­ture. Any ve­hi­cle mak­ing use of the this fa­cil­ity will have its en­ergy use cal­cu­lated and that will be billed to the owner.

This is an in­no­va­tive way around some of the big­gest ob­sta­cles that are cur­rently slow­ing down the mass roll- out of elec­tric cars: charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture, charg­ing time and billing. This so­lu­tion, if it’s widely adopted, could also ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment of au­tonomous cars, be­cause the cars are quite lit­er­ally driv­ing in tracks. And there could, the­o­ret­i­cally, be em­bed­ded data in the sys­tem that could sig­nal of­framps and other way­points, which the car’s nav­i­ga­tion could in­ter­pret and feed into the au­tonomous sys­tem.

It’s pie-in-the-sky think­ing right now, but a far more el­e­gant so­lu­tion than over­head ca­bles.

Volvo’s XC40 launched here in South Africa to great fan­fare (about 100 units sold in the first month of re­lease), and rightly so – when specced ac­cord­ingly, the XC40 is like a baby XC90 with the same en­gine. That means all of the In­tel­lisafe semi­au­tonomous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy can also be equipped. We drove the range-top­ping D5 R-de­sign with all the avail­able trim­mings for a week and could fault noth­ing but the per­for­mance of the Sen­sus in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem’s touch­screen – a com­mon prob­lem for re­sis­tive/ca­pac­i­tive hy­brid sys­tems that are de­signed for colder cli­mates where users are more likely to don gloves in win­ter.

What stood out as most strik­ing about the model, how­ever, was see­ing it at the Google I/O de­vel­oper con­fer­ence. Volvo will also add phone-free An­droid Auto on top of the al­ready im­pres­sive Sen­sus sys­tem, as well as har­ness­ing fu­ture mod­els’ em­bed­ded SIM cards for a per­sis­tent data con­nec­tion. Then, your nav­i­ga­tion will be han­dled by Google Maps and users will have open ac­cess to var­i­ous An­droid Auto com­pat­i­ble apps like Spo­tify, Pocket Casts and Waze.

Cur­rently, Volvo has put the XC90 for­ward as its main tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment plat­form, but see­ing these new in­no­va­tions de­but on the small­est SUV in the sta­ble makes the route to the av­er­age con­sumer a lot shorter. South Africa will also ben­e­fit from the Volvo On Call con­nected fea­tures in the near fu­ture af­ter the sys­tem is over­hauled to fold in the on- de­mand rental ser­vice re­quired.

Volvo Cars South Africa pro­vi­sion­ally put a fourth- quar­ter 2019 timeline on the ser­vice roll out, but also ex­plained that our lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence will be paired down from what users in the US and EU have been us­ing since the be­gin­ning of the year. The most no­table omis­sion for us will be the rental ser­vice. Users in cer­tain US cities can join a paid sub­scrip­tion ser­vice and rent Volvos on de­mand through an elec­tronic sys­tem.

Com­bined at­tack BMW and Porsche have j oined t heir vast r es­earch might t o f i nally de­liver 15- minute

EV charg­ing sta­tions a t hing. The Ger­man Fed­eral Min­istry of Trans­port and Dig­i­tal I nfras­truc­ture i s putting a 7, 8- mil­lion euro grant be­hind t he project, which will f ocus on i mprov­ing t he charg­ing r ate t o 900 V

at 500 A, which r esults i n 450 kw charge. This will most prob­a­bly only be an of f er­ing open only t o l arger- bat­teried com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, with con­sumer t ech­nol­ogy rolling out at a l ater stage.

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