Friday 2 December 2016

Parking woes; can we expect an electric car take-off? BMW 'truck'? Beating the hackers

Published 27/07/2016 | 02:30

(stock image)
(stock image)

I've never came across so many cars with so much technology to help you park.

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And judging by the standards I see displayed by those who guide a vehicle between two lines on their own, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the sooner we get more technology to help with parking our cars, the better.

But parking helps encapsulate a wider question, I feel.

Do we become overly reliant on mechanical help and let our own skills-set, mediocre and all as they may be, deteriorate?

I think the answer is yes.

To be honest, I feel momentarily abandoned if the car I'm driving doesn't beep-beep when I'm parking. What about you?

• Everywhere you look automakers are planning more and more electric cars.

They obviously see a future where zero emissions are imperative (at least from the operating car - generating electric power can involve the production of harmful gases but we won't dwell on that today).

If you look at the current sales figures - and they are still small in Ireland judging by the latest SIMI figures - then the collective production of so many new electric cars is going to lead to a near-vertical take-off in purchases.

We are talking about millions of them being made in a relatively short period of time.

Are you ready for that?

For example, in addition to all the plans outlined up to recently, in the past few days alone, Audi has said it aims to have three electric models ready to roll by 2020.

That is only a few short years away.

And they expect electric vehicles to account for 25pc to 30pc of its sales by 2025, according to its chief executive officer Rupert Stadler.

Meanwhile, Daimler has stepped up the speed of development of Mercedes electric cars, its CEO Dieter Zetsche says.

He too sees the vehicle segment gaining a significant market share.

All this in a week when electric-car Tesla chief, Elon Musk, unveiled Part II of the 'Master Plan' to expand the firm's model line-up, add further autonomous technology and even make vehicles for the public transport sector.

Then there are reports that Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and BMW could open a shared electric-vehicle battery plant - because they want some of the action too, and don't want Tesla making all the waves.

Batteries are the critical element here. Capacity to once-and-for-all end 'range anxiety' is the game changer.

• I see a Mercedes-AMG GT C roadster is one of nine new models coming from the top-people's car for 2017. That should be more than interesting. There will also be a facelifted S-Class and electric Smart models.

• Well I never thought I'd see the day!

A BMW 'truck'. According to reports, a senior BMW official views the idea of a truck - which would compete with the GLT, soon expected from Mercedes - as 'an interesting proposition'.

• There is lots of activity around securing cars from hackers - who always seem to be one step ahead.

Once again, this week, we are promised 'advanced new technology' that will test for security weaknesses in connected and autonomous cars. The question is, how far in advance of the hackers can it be?

Indo Motoring

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