Subaru starts airbag re­call

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - STU ROBARTS — Giz­mag.

TO check po­ten­tially fa­tal Takata airbags, Subaru has an­nounced a re­call of 2004 to 2007 Im­preza and WRX mod­els for safety in- spec­tions and po­ten­tial re­place­ment of the front pas­sen­ger airbag mod­ules. Own­ers will be called and can also visit www. subaru. co. za/ re­call to read more on the process and to check if their ve­hi­cles are af­fected.

LAST year, Nis­san and Foster + Part­ners an­nounced a joint brain trust to con­sider the fuel sta­tion of the fu­ture. A vi­sion has now been un­veiled in which the fuel sta­tion of the fu­ture is con­ceived as the home, the street, the city and in­deed the car it­self, but not, iron­i­cally, as a fuel sta­tion.

Nis­san and Foster + Part­ners’ “fully con­nected vi­sion of the fu­ture of mo­bil­ity” is based on the be­lief that the fu­ture of ve­hi­cles is elec­tric.

It sees ve­hi­cle- to- grid, bat­tery stor­age, wire­less charg­ing, au­ton­o­mous drive and over- the- air con­nec­tiv­ity tech­nolo­gies com­bin­ing to change not only how cars are re­fu­elled, but how en­ergy is used and dis­trib­uted across ma­jor cities.

The move to­wards elec­tric ve­hi­cles ( EVs) is al­ready cre­at­ing a need for a new re­fu­elling net­work. Such a net­work, said co­head of de­sign at Foster + Part­ners, David Nelson, can be sus­tain­able, in­no­va­tive and can do more than sim­ply re­fuel cars.

“In­te­grat­ing zero emis­sion tech­nolo­gies into the built en­vi­ron­ment is vi­tal in cre­at­ing smarter, more sus­tain­able cities,” said Nelson. “That com­mit­ment must ex­tend far be­yond the car — it must sit at the heart of ev­ery­thing we do.”

The re­sults of the 12- month col­lab­o­ra­tion en­vis­age smart streets on which the cars, houses, road and grid are all con­nected. Cars are charged us­ing re­new­able en­ergy from peo­ple’s homes or us­ing tech­nolo­gies that are be­ing de­vel­oped now where cars au­tonomously nav­i­gate to wire­less on­street charg­ing bays, charge them­selves and then re- park while their own­ers sleep.

The ve­hi­cle is it­self seen as a power hub, able to feed en­ergy back into houses, the grid, other ve­hi­cles or devices. This use of cars for en­ergy stor­age, cou­pled with en­ergy stor­age ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­stalled in homes, would help to min­imise the amount of re­new­able en­ergy that goes to waste.

Nis­san and Foster + Part­ners also posit that the move to­wards zero- emis­sions tech­nol­ogy in cars could change what is pos­si­ble in how we use them. The firms sug­gest, out­landishly but by way of ex­am­ple, that cars could be driven into of­fices and used as power sources, or sim­ply that such newly fea­si­ble prox­im­ity would al­low for au­to­mated park­ing sys­tems within of­fices to whisk cars away to be stored and charged up­stairs or else­where in a build­ing un­til the end of the day.

Tak­ing their vi­sion fur­ther, the firms see a world in which dis­trib­uted clean en­ergy pro­duc­tion is so abun­dant that it be­comes a free com­mod­ity shared across cities, with fuel sta­tions and many car parks able to be re­placed with green spa­ces.

Nis­san and Foster + Part­ners’ vi­sion is be­ing dis­played at the Geneva Mo­tor Show.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

A new study en­vis­ages smart streets on which the cars, houses and grid are all con­nected.

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