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According to the World Health Organization’s 2013 report, India has the dubious reputation of being one of the countries that ranks high in road-safety related deaths. Every year, around 1.24 million people lose their lives to road related accidents across the planet. With modes of transport in populous India being so heterogeneous, it comes as no surprise that traffic rules are frequently flouted and road safety is matter of concern. Traffic nightmares are an everyday occurrence for the citizens of India. Over the years, traffic fatalities in India have risen with the increase in the total motor vehicle population, more than 140,000 people die on the roads annually.
India hasn’t scored too well on factors that prevent the alarming number of road fatalities, such as using helmets while riding two-wheelers, wearing a seat-belt whilst driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, using child restraints and driving or riding within the speed limit. The central government has new amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act in place, requiring compliance with these road safety measures, which are unfortunately not enforced stringently enough, especially in rural areas.
In October of last year, at the National Road safety Council in New Delhi, the current Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Oscar Fernandes said, “We are actively considering the creation of a National Road safety and Traffic Management Board. The board will act as a dedicated agency to oversee road safety activity in the country and will have powers to issue guidelines on a wide range of issues concerning road safety.”
Recently, the International Road Federation and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways observed the ‘25th National Road Safety Week’ from January 11–17 this year. Oscar Fernandes said, “The Bill (Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill), when cleared and becoming effective, will help in strengthening road safety. Legislation will play a very important role in making the country's roads safer as road fatalities are exceptionally high in India and over 138,000 people were killed in around 490,000 road accidents in 2012.” The minister added, “Once the proposed amendment is passed, traffic rule violators will have to cough up hefty penalties, almost 10 times more than what they pay now, for offences such as speeding and drink driving. The bill seeks to raise compensation for death resulting from a hit-and-run accident to Rs 1 lakh ($1600) and Rs 50,000 ($801) for the injured in such incidents.” The theme for the drive this year was, "When you are on the road, always say PEHELE AAP." Various cities in India organized events to spread awareness and change the way people think to reduce traffic indiscipline. The week saw banners, placards, leaflets, films, badges, and pocket guides about road safety being given to pedestrians and motorists alike. Oscar Fernandes believes that giving priority to road safety ‘at the political level’ will go a long way in helping India bring down the number of road fatalities.
India has ambitious plans of constructing 20 kilometres of good roads a day. India needs to make arrangements for commensurate medical facilities while improving quality and connectivity. As a country which professes to endorse United Nations’ ‘Safe System Approach’, India will have to collect proper data and ensure that the safety standards match those in developed countries. The way forward will involve strengthening the legislation and changing the way people think to ensure that lives are saved.
Liechtenstein-based nanoFLOWCELL unveiled the QUANT e-Sportslimousine, a prototype vehicle equipped with a nanoFLOWCELL flow cell battery powertrain, at the Geneva Motor Show. This flow cell system supports an electric driving range of between 400 to 600 km (249 to 373 miles) in the QUANT e-Sportlimousine prototype, the company claims.
Flow cells or flow batteries combine aspects of an electrochemical battery cell with those of a fuel cell. The electrolytic fluids in flow cells—usually metallic salts in aqueous solution—are pumped from tanks through the cell. This forms a kind of battery cell with a cross-flow of electrolyte liquid. One advantage of this system in general is that the larger the storage tanks for the electrolyte fluid are, the greater the energy capacity. Too, the concentration of an electrolytic solution contributes to the the quantity of energy that it transports.
To charge or discharge the nanoFLOWCELL, two different electrolytic solutions are pumped through the appropriate battery cell in which an electrode (anode or cathode) is located. A membrane separates the two electrolyte chambers and their differing chemistries. At a nominal voltage of 600 V and 50 A nominal current, the system in the lab is achieving continuous output of 30 kW.
According to nanoFLOWCELL, its flow battery has a specific energy of about 5-times that of a Li-ion battery (600 Wh/kg compared to ~120 Wh/kg). The company attributes the performance of the nanoFLOWCELL to the characteristics of its newly-developed, and unspecified, electrolytic fluids, made up of metallic salts at very high concentration. Slightly more specifically, the company says that a large increase in the number of charge carriers in the electrolyte fluid within the nanoFLOWCELL significantly increased its performance compared to conventional redox flow-cells (about 5x the specific energy and several orders of magnitude more specific power).
The company also claims its flow cells can go through 10,000 charging cycles with no noticeable memory effect and suffer almost no self-discharging.
The first QUANT e-Sportlimousine prototype carries two 200-liter (53 gallons US) tanks on board, for a total energy capacity of 120 kWh. The QUANT e-Sportlimousine energy consumption is about 20 kWh/100 km, when driving in the lower load range. Increasing the tank volume of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine to 800 liters would be possible, the company says.
Once the electrolytic fluids are discharged, the contents of both tanks must to be replaced. The prototype features a double tank system with dual filler necks, one for each electrolyte, to keep times for the electrolyte liquid replacement to a minimum.
Powertrain. In addition to the flow cell, the QUANT uses four electric motor units (120 kW continuous, 170 kW peak per unit) for all-wheel drive with torque vectoring and two supercapacitor banks for energy storage. Peak torque per wheel is 2,900 N·m (2,139 lb-ft). The company says acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is 2.8 seconds.
A central VCU (vehicle control unit) is responsible for controlling the driving- and charging-currents throughout the entire powertrain.
The supercaps provide power to the four drive motors, and also serve as a general energy buffer for the vehicle’s electrical system and storage for regenerative braking energy.
In February, nanoFLOWCELL AG announced a partnership with Bosch Engineering GmbH to further develop vehicle electronics for the QUANT e-Sportlimousine.
According Nunzio La Vecchia, the head of development of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine, the company is planning on producing four drivable prototypes in 2014.
Established in late 2013, nanoFLOWCELL AG (formerly JUNO Technology Products AG) is a Research and Development Centre based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The focus of nanoFLOWCELL AG’s research is on the advanced development of drive technology and the classification of flow-cell technology. In 2009, the company showed the NLV Quant prototype at the Geneva Motor Show. The QUANT e-Sportslimousine is a completely new development, both technically and optically, compared to the NLV Quant.
Nanjing, China and Nanjing Public Transportation Group ordered more than 1,000 fully electric transit buses and taxis from BYD Company Ltd. The city will be taking delivery of more than 600 BYD K9 battery-electric Buses, 50 of which were delivered for the city’s Youth Olympic Games in August 2014.
Authorities also placed an order for 400 of BYD’s all-electric e6, a 5-passenger cross-over utility vehicle, some of which have already hit the streets. Nanjing Jiangnan Electric Taxi Ltd. will be operating the electric vehicles.
Nanjing is one of the pilot cities in China that has been chosen by the Central Government to participate in air quality improvement programs. In November of last year, Nanjing and BYD signed a strategic co-operation agreement that also brought BYD to the area to build and develop their zero emission products.
The Nanjing announcement will create one of the world’s largest fleet of pure electric public transport vehicles and certainly the largest supplied by BYD to date. This is a positive sign of the growing acceptance of pure electric transport vehicles such as the ebus having a significant role in making urban environments less polluted.—Isbrand Ho, a BYD Managing Director
Toyota’s new AYGO, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, is equipped with an improved version of Toyota’s award-winning 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter VVT-i gasoline engine. Still one of the lightest engines in its class, the unit incorporates numerous revisions that enhance performance and help deliver class-leading fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
Gasoline engines are chosen by 85% of A-segment customers in Europe. “We wanted to improve performance, as well as economy. In the A-segment, running costs are paramount—customers don’t want to spend a fortune on fuel bills. But at the same time, we didn’t want to resort to costly technology to reduce consumption, as this would have driven the vehicle price up too much. So our challenge was to come up with relatively simple yet clever ways to achieve our targets,” said David Terai, Chief Engineer of new AYGO.
The combustion character of the 998 cc engine was improved. The compression ratio has been increased from 11.0:1 to 11.5:1. The combustion chamber now benefits from better cooling, and a high tumble intake port ensures an optimal air/fuel mix in the cylinder. The Variable Valve Timing program has also been optimized.
Friction losses were reduced through the adoption of a low-friction timing chain with an auto-tensioner. Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) valve lifters and a twin-tank oil pan further contribute to reduced internal resistance.
What was already one of the lightest engines of its type was made even lighter by fitting a cylinder head with a built-in exhaust manifold.
The engine now develops greater power and torque: 51kW (69 DIN hp) at 6,000 rpm and 95 N·m (70 lb-ft) at 4,300 rpm. 85 N·m 63 lb-ft) of torque is available from as little as 2,000 rpm.
New AYGO comes in both standard and Eco-versions. The latter benefits from a longer 4th and 5th gear, low Rolling Resistance Coefficient.
The standard version achieves a drop in fuel consumption from 4.4 to 4.1 l/100 km (fuel economy of 53.5 mpg US increasing to 57.4 mpg US), which translates into a 7 g/km drop in CO2 emissions to 95 g/km. The Eco unit does even better, with fuel economy of below 3.9 l/100 km (60 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of less than 88 g/km.
Extensive work was also done on the aerodynamics of the car to further enhance efficiency. This includes the optimisation of airflow around the bodywork to reduce air resistance, the use of front and rear spoilers, floor undercovers and rear spats to control the underfloor airflow, and the adoption of a four-way duct to optimize airflow to the engine bay.
As a result, the drag coefficient of new AYGO has been reduced from Cd 0.30 to Cd 0.29, with a further reduction to Cd 0.28 for the Eco variant.
X-shift. The x-shift transmission is available as an option on new AYGO. This improved automated manual transmission has a fully automatic shift mode and no clutch pedal, using computer control to synchronize engine, clutch and transaxle for quick and precise shifting.
The transmission’s gear ratios have been revised for a better balance of driving pleasure and fuel economy.
Selecting E (Easy Mode), M (Manual) or R (Reverse) allows the car to ‘creep’ like a conventional automatic. In E mode, the system selects a suitable gear according to the accelerator pedal, vehicle speed and driving conditions.
New AYGO’s x-shift is equipped with the kick-down function standard to automatic transmissions. Moreover, it is possible to override the system temporarily by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Selecting M mode allows the driver to manually change gear via either the shift lever itself or with the paddle switches.
When equipped with x-shift, new AYGO returns fuel consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg US) and generates CO2 emissions of 97 g/km.
Nissan introduced a significantly revised Nissan Juke compact crossover at the Geneva Motor Show. First introduced to the market a little more than three years ago, the Nissan Juke has posted total sales of 420,000 units. Nissan says that Juke is the best seller in the European premium B-segment—outperforming all direct competitors including those from the top German brands—and is Nissan’s second-most popular model in Europe.
Among the changes in the new Juke are a new design at the front and rear with greater emphasis on both premium refinement and sporty design cues; a new downsized 1.2-liter turbocharged engine offering greater performance, economy and lower emissions; a revised 1.6-liter DIG-T engine; improved four-wheel drive with Torque Vectoring System; new alloy wheels; advanced equipment including a new audio system, the latest generation NissanConnect driver-vehicle interface, Nissan Safety Shield, Nissan’s Dynamic Control system, plus the option of a new opening glass roof.
Nissan also introduced the extreme new Juke Nismo RS, a model with more power (218PS/160kW), upgraded brakes, a stiffer body and a limited slip differential on two wheel drive versions.
Engines and drivetrains. Three engines are available for new Juke, with changes to the two gasoline options: one is new and the other extensively revised. The existing 1.5 dCi diesel with 110ps (108 hp, 81 kW) continues unchanged.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance-developed 1.2-liter DIG-T petrol engine, which replaces the outgoing 117 ps (115 hp) 1.6-liter unit, is an advanced turbocharged direct injection engine delivering 115 ps (113 hp, 85kW) and generating 190 N·m (140 lb-ft) of torque. The 1.2L DIG-T is also offered on the Qashqai.
Despite its modest size, the 1.2-liter (1197cc) turbocharged engine offers sharper acceleration and greater torque than the outgoing 1.6-liter naturally aspirated engine.
Its lower weight, standard automatic Stop/Start feature and more fuel-efficient operation translates into cleaner and more economical performance. The 1.2 DIG-T engine emits 126g/km of CO2 and has a fuel consumption figure of 5.5 l/100km (42.8 mpg US).
The existing 1.6 DIG-T gasoline unit has been further improved to deliver lower end torque below 2,000 rpm. Producing 140 kW (188 hp), it is already Euro 6 compliant with target emissions of 139 g/km of CO2 for the 2WD versions. Among its new features are a higher combustion ratio (increased from 9.5 to 10.5:1), improved low friction technologies and cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation.
As well as a six-speed manual transmission, new Juke 1.6 DIG-T 4WD is optionally available with a new Xtronic transmission gearbox which further improves fuel efficiency, acceleration and all-round performance.
All Juke models sold in Europe are built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, UK where three shifts per day are needed to cope with demand.
Juke has attracted a huge number of buyers new to the brand. As much as 85% of sales have been to first-time Nissan owners, not only making it the highest conquest model in the Nissan range but a model that comfortably outperforms the B-segment average with many of those new buyers downsizing from larger cars.
New Juke will go on sale across Europe in the summer, 2014.