The Mercedes-Benz Vision Van and the Future of Supply Chain Logistics

Corporate supply chain logistics might not seem interesting to most, but it has been and will continue to be a testing grounds for alternative transportation ideas like electric/hybrid drive, automation, and vehicle sharing. If long haul shipping businesses can save some cash with more efficient diesel engines or air dynamic side spoilers, they will make the investment more quickly than the average joe. This is why the Mercedes-Benz Vision Van could present a realistic opportunity to see how some next-gen ideas, especially automated electric transit, could be implemented in the very near future.

From Mercedes-Benz:

  • Mercedes-Benz Vans launches future initiative adVANce to expand its growth strategy and develop new business models
  • Investments of approximately 500 million euros over the next five years for digitalisation, automation and robotics in vans as well as innovative mobility solutions
  • New organisational unit within the start-up scene in Stuttgart, Berlin and Silicon Valley – approximately 200 employees already work on numerous projects
  • Close cooperation with start-ups, including first strategic investments – among others in Matternet
  • All-electric “Vision Van” van study with a range of up to 270 km, fully automated cargo space and integrated drones

The fleet emission average for delivery vans, trucks and big rigs is 10.17 kg CO2 per gallon of diesel consumed. Delivery vans and trucks average about 7.8 mpg (or 1.3 kg of CO2 per mile) while big rigs average about 5.3 mpg (or 1.92 kg of CO2 per mile). –NCEP

Transit trucks, which make multiple stops and are frequently left in idle by the drivers, would benefit greatly from automation and electrification.  Diesel engines spew tons of particulate matter into localized urban areas. The problems are especially exacerbated by urban city blocks, which trap pollutants in avenues and streets.   Electric trucks would nullify this problem by transferring the pollution to power plants which, hopefully, will continue to become more clean in the future.   Electric trucks in urban areas would make full use of regenerative braking and eliminate the idling problem.

So while most are intrigued by 0-60 mph of the next electric supercar, corporate delivery trucks could demonstrate a new, fascinating approach to modern transportation.  This new way of thinking could open the doors to mainstream drive automation, more efficient ride sharing applications, driver-less taxi services, and other beneficial transportation ideas that could never have been fathomed 20 years ago.

 

Eco-friendly cars – top 5 that ruled 2016

Today’s auto industry is incredibly versatile. The latest models available in the market are tech-enabled, lightweight, easy to drive, and ultimately, eco-friendly. Choosing a type that lives up to your expectations can be a challenge tough. Green cars in particular, have won a lot of ground lately. Even top tier manufacturers like BMW, Porsche and Tesla have models you need to check out. Green cars are not just conveniently priced. Some of them feature benefits that go beyond the mere meaning of an eco-friendly vehicle that drives slowly. Here are 5 top green cars that managed to rule 2016, thus far.

BMW X3 (G01)

  1. BMW X3

BMW’s latest X3 model works on clean diesel. The fact that is packs an alternative engine doesn’t affect its speed ratio and driving range while on the road. On the contrary, the car has an EPA estimated mileage of 27-34-30 mpg for highway and city driving combined. There’s also a 6 mpg included that claims to be more efficient that X3 models that are gas-powered. The eco-friendly model is with just $1,500 more expensive than the classic model, so we would say it’s worth taking a chance and choosing the hybrid variant. The eco-friendly BMW X3 can easily handle 600 miles with a tank of gas and an alternative electrically-powered motor; which is pretty good.

  1. Lexus CT 200h

On the market for an affordable eco-friendly car? Look no further and go with a Lexus. The latest CT 200h model packs an estimated EPA of 43-40-42 mpg both on a highway and in the city. Featuring a compact, good-looking appearance and sporty personality, Lexus CT 200h is pretty fun to drive. It has a hatchback body and folding backseats to compensate for the small size. Incredibly versatile, this car is everything you need to travel the world. The blend of sporty character and fuel economy makes the CT a sleek vehicle with a starting price of $30,000.

  1. Mazda CX-5

Who says you can’t have fun while driving an efficient cars? As a matter of fact, you can and the latest CX-5 model from Mazda will exceed your expectations. Those looking to invest in fuel-efficiency should definitely have a closer look at this variant. The CX-5 has an EPA rate of 26-35-29 mpg on highways and in cities; it packs a 6-speed manual transmission, nice-looking body and excellent driving. Among some other benefits, we must also talk about the smooth handling, excellent front seats, expressive design and efficient powertrain. Known as a competent athletic crossover, the CX-5 starts a price of $21,000; variants with automatic transmissions feature slightly higher prices beginning from $29,000.

2016 Mazda CX-5

  1. Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Toyota is a car manufacturers that has been dominating the auto industry (hybrid sector in particular) for many years. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the newest Avalon Hybrid model is a top-seller. Featuring consistent mileage improvements compared to other models that work on gas, the hybrid variant has an estimated EPA of 40-39-40 mpg, the highest when compared to similar sedans currently available. The rating improves on non-hybrid Avalon models by an astounding 19 mpg, thus making the vehicle an excellent choice for families and commuters constantly on the go. It also prides with a well-controlled system, responsive & refined powertrains, spacious interiors, and advanced safety tech.

  1. Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid

We never pictures Porsche as a hybrid fan, but then again you must give people what they want to be able to live up to the competition. The latest Cayenne S Hybrid actually pretty great. As opposed to most luxury hybrids on the market, the Cayenne S packs smooth driving, increased efficiency and groundbreaking tech advances. The model is the proud owner of 3.0 l super-charged V6 motor and an infused 70 kW electric engine. When combined, these two powertrains pack a total of 416 hp. With permanent all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission, it’s safe to say that the Cayenne S Hybrid is spectacular.

2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo front

The auto industry was taken by storm this 2016 by eco-friendly cars. The array of models is endless, and it’s safe to say that this is just the beginning. Faster hybrids are coming up next, as well as faster fully-electrics. Manufacturers are constantly striving to wow its customer base, whether they’re average buyers searching for convenience or top-tier collectors hunting for the most exclusive models on the market. As far as future expectations are concerned, there’s no doubt that in the following 5 years all the above mentioned manufactures will come up with even better variants.

By Christopher Austin and Design911.co.uk!

Upcoming electric cars that will conquer the market this year

In the past 5 years we’ve seen an increase in electric car manufacturing. Many international developers strongly believe that the future of the auto industry will depend on eco-friendly vehicles. Going green is no longer a luxury, and believe it or not, recent models of electric cars are no longer over-priced. In fact, some have pretty amazing built-ins and in-car technicals to surpass the efficiency and performance of conventional vehicles that run on gas. This year, the industry has spiked in eco-friendly cars; starting from the simplest all the way to the most groundbreaking. Here’s a quick guide with 5 “green” cars that will most like win you over.

ioniq

Hyundai IONIQ

Toyota Prius, it’s time for you to move over! IONIQ is here to take your spot. Even though it’s too early to tell whether or not Hyundai’s IONIQ model will be better than the Prius, rumor has it that it will be a fair competitor. The hybrid auto market is on the roll, and as new technologies emerge, it’s tough for manufacturers to stay on top. Hyundai has always been an ambitious car maker, and even though we can’t know for sure how advanced and powerful IONIQ will be, we can state that the plug-in hybrid will create some sort of hype. Rumor has it that the new model will deliver an incredible driving experience; apparently, some of the built-in features will provide a driving experience no other eco vehicle is currently offering.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan’s Leaf model is the most popular type of electric car in the world. Nearly 200,000 models have been sold since the release. The manufacturers are still making upgrades, and this year’s variant looks and feels better than ever. The latest Leaf comes with a 30 kWh battery, which is enough to drive for 155 miles. Why are casual driver so in love with this electric vehicle? First, because it is affordable – $18,000 on average – on average, and second because it looks nice both on the inside and on the outside. Nissan Leaf is comfortable, relaxing to drive and quiet. It is an electric pioneer that drivers are quite fond of!

Tesla Model X

There’s something about Tesla that keeps us interested. The company’s recent Model X is quite the beauty. It can easily get to 60 mph in roughly 3.2 seconds, not to mention that it looks pretty awesome too. Some say that Tesla’s Model X will be the best electric car of the year. It features enough room to fit up to 7 individuals, and it completely redefined in-car design. Sleek, modern and high-tech on the inside, Model X has certainly piqued our interest. The manufacturers argue that it is also the fastest electric car in the world, as well as the most capable utility vehicles created thus far. Safety is Model X’s biggest trump card. Considering it packs floor-mounted battery meant to lower its gravity center, the risk of rolling is extremely low.

tesla model x

Chevrolet Bolt

Chevy Bolt may not benefit from Tesla’s technology, but it’s still an electric vehicle with great potential. In fact, rumor has it that the most is the most anticipated of the year. The model will be hitting the market pretty soon, and many buyers are excited to test it out especially because it comes at an affordable cost – on average, $30,000. The fully electric hatchback offers seating for 5 people, thus making it ideal for small families. The engine can handle a mileage of 200, and the quick charging (30 minutes for 90 miles) will surely appeal to potential customers.

BMW i3

BMW’s i3 model is a remarkable electric hatchback. Featuring a rather unusual exterior built, we cannot help but wonder who thought of the design. The structure is made of carbon fiber, and as for the electric powertrain, the i3 packs legendary driving dynamics. Due to a low gravity center, the cars can easily go from 0 to 60mph in roughly 6.5 seconds. In terms of charging, this urban beauty doesn’t take longer than 3 hours to reach its full potential.

bmwi3

Numerous other electric cars are preparing to enter the market. Some see promising, whereas others are just pure science fiction. We still hope for Porsche’s Mission E to emerge so that Tesla can have some real competition.

By Christopher Austin and Design911.co.uk!

 

Seven magical societal benefits that driverless cars might deliver

The driverless car is becoming more than just a possibility. Google already use autonomous cars within a designated zone around their business and several manufacturers are extremely close to developing the true driverless vehicle. It is safe to say it is merely a matter of time before it becomes a reality. There are several benefits associated with driver less cars. Some of them are meant to provide better safety when behind the wheel; others are eco-friendly and a lot more secure to the environment. Let’s have a closer look:

_DSC3862

  1. Safety

The most obvious benefit from driverless cars taking over the road is the decreased risk of accidents. As every driverless car knows the position and speed of the other vehicles on the road it is able to predict and avoid accidents. This is coupled with some major advancements in safety measures which will increase the ability of any vehicle to stop quickly. Fewer accidents will mean fewer injuries and a potential huge saving to medical costs around the world as well as reduced insurance premiums.

  1. Traffic

Theoretically there will actually be fewer vehicles on the road as a driverless car can be sent back to your house to be used by a family member or even used by someone else commuting to work. In effect, the car could become less personal.  In addition to this a car which knows where all the other vehicles are on the road will easily be able to plot and navigate the best possible route to any destination without needing to encounter traffic.

  1. Free time

Whether you are a salesperson or just a regular commuter you will spend many hours every week behind the wheel of your car driving. In the future this will not be necessary. Instead you will be able to use this time to get important paperwork or other issues resolved. The cars of the future will be wirelessly linked to the internet making it possible to do anything while commuting. The result is more free time, either in the car to get stuff done, or, at home when you would normally have to complete you paperwork and other tasks.

_DSC3890

  1. Emissions

Despite a variety if control mechanisms emissions are still steadily increasing. Much of this is actually connected with the increase in the number of cars on the road. Increased vehicles increases traffic and the need to start and stop. This dramatically increases emissions. However, an autonomous car will be able to work out the right speed and route to take to get to a destination without actually needing to stop, dramatically reducing emissions. In addition it is likely that many of the next generation of vehicles will be electric and have zero emissions.

  1. Improved Transport Links

As mentioned the driverless car is likely to be a less personal possession and ore about simply getting to where you need to go. In effect there will be massive car sharing pools. Buses will no longer be necessary in towns; the electric car will simply turn up at your door and drop you off. It is even possible that a car charge could be made to every household which would cover the cost f keeping the car pool charged. A car could then be dispatched in seconds to any house via an electronic link.  Transport would be available for everyone!

  1. New Job Creation

The driverless car will result in job mosses as there will no longer be a need for long distance lorry drivers, taxi drivers, or eve, pizza delivery drivers. However, the other side of this is that there is likely to be an increase in software jobs and wireless technologies and support for the infrastructure of the autonomous car.

Acura Precision Concept

  1. Better Health

Traffic jams are said to be extremely bad for people’s health as they increase blood pressure and the risk of strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. If driverless cars eliminate traffic jams they will also eliminate a large amount of stress! Now that’s definitely good news, since most drives today are pretty angry when they’re behind the wheel.

Wouldn’t you agree that driverless cars might make our lives easier? Everyone wants to get from point A to B in due time, and never be late. Driverless cars might actually improve our lifestyles. We could get anywhere, anytime and without having to worry about accidents or other drivers on the street.

 

By Christopher Austin and PPCGB.com!

Really! Porsche’s prototype battery-driven sports car aims to challenge Tesla Motors!

Porsche is one of the most iconic car manufacturers in the world. It has a rich history of producing some of the fastest and best looking vehicles ever to be designed. The modern range includes the latest version of the famous Porsche 911 and a variety of other vehicles right through to the Porsche Cayenne; their four wheel drive luxury model with more horsepower than the average sports car. Now, Porsche is aiming to take on the electric powered car manufacturers and build a car which will beat Tesla at their own game!

IAA 2015 - Porsche Mission E concept

At the end of last year Porsche announced its latest concept, the Mission E sports car; it is all electric, boasts 600 horsepower and will be on sale within five years. Perhaps even more impressive is that the expected range is 300 miles and the vehicle can be recharged in as little as fifteen minutes! Porsche’s Mission E is described as an all wheel drive, all wheel steering, battery powered street car. Will it manage to surpass Tesla’s performance levels? Will it be able to compete with Tesla’s competitive price ($35,000) for its latest model?

Development

The global head of research and development at Porsche, Wolfgang Hatz has stated that the car has been on the drawing board for many years, but it has not been the right time to build it. In fact, he has been quoted as saying “it would happen when we can really deliver performance, reliability and driving range. And now the time is right.” The prototype has been in testing for one year and it is very close to obtaining approval to move on to the production phase. Although, at this stage a date has not been committed to and the price has only been hinted at being competitive for its target market.

The car is likely to be on sale for in excess of $100,000 US; it has already been acknowledged within the industry that there would be a limited demand for an electric sports car which can deliver high performance and travel for over three hundred miles on one charge. But, that those who would be interested in this sort of vehicle would be prepared to pay the price tag which goes with it. Elon Musk, the CEO of Telsa has also acknowledged that the market is there and that they are the main competitor to Porsche.

Elon Musk - The Summit 2013

Specifications

Porsche is keeping to its usual impressive statistics. Mission E is intended to be a four door, four passenger vehicle but it should still reach sixty from a standing start in just three and a half seconds. It will make it all the way to one hundred and twenty in just fewer than twelve seconds.

The car will be the first car to feature an 800 volt electric system and it will be possible to recharge this system to eighty percent power in just fifteen minutes. It should be noted that there is presently no infrastructure to support the recharging; this will need to be created before the car is finally produced.

Gadgets

Porsche’s pioneering prototype will also feature a variety of state of the art electronic systems, including an all new eye tracking system, which is intended to sense which part of the dashboard the driver is looking at and will highlight the relevant part of the dash. It will even expand the gauges in the specific area.

Tesla Model 3: boom di prenotazioni! Arriva l'elettrica "popolare"!

It is important to note that this car will be a Porsche; it is not intended to be targeted as competition to any other manufacturer. Porsche has its own reputation and will ensure the car meets its exacting standards; there is no doubt there will be a high level of demand from Porsche customers. This includes building a car which is iconic, balanced, fast and luxurious.

There’s no doubt about it – Porsche is one of the world’s greatest car manufacturers. But then again, the company is also one of the most expensive. Not everyone will afford to pay $100,000 on a Porsche Mission E. Fortunately Porsche has a lot more fame than Tesla. It is targeted at high-end buyers eager and it is eager to challenge its main competitors. We’re just hoping Porsche released the Mission E soon!

By Christopher Austin and Design911.co.uk!

A Close Look At The Lexus CT 200H

Lexus have been at the forefront of hybrid technology since it arrived. They are always worth looking at if you are in the market for a more environmentally friendly ride. Their latest attempt at a hybrid is the CT 200H – a slick looking hatchback, which is the subject of varying opinion.

On the one hand, you have the car reviewers – and they aren’t overly impressed. However, when you look at user reviews – the ones that matter – people seem to love their new CT200H. So, what’s the truth? In today’s guide, we’re going to take a closer look at the Lexus CT200H and reveal our full opinion. Read on to find out more!

Lexus-CT-200h-rear-w

The Basics

The CT200H has been on the scene for some time now, and it is still a big draw for punters looking to embrace hybrid tech. It’s a hatchback, too; probably the best hatchback hybrid option out there – for now. So, it gives you a little mobility around a city setting, and it has enough about it to draw admiring glances.

However, there is some stiff competition arriving on the scene these days. Audi has the A3 Sportback e-on coming out, and the Toyota RAV4 can also be put in the hatchback category. So, the big question is, can the Lexus CT200H hold on to its draw as its rivals appear on the streets?

Style and Options

So, looking from the outside in, the CT200H is an attractive sight, without blowing you away. It’s a four-door hatchback with enough room to fit five passengers in comfort – not bad for its size. Your basic models start with a set of 170-inch alloy wheels, auto headlights and a sunroof. You can also expect heated mirrors, keyless ignition, and premium vinyl upholstery.

Upgrades are available, of course. Highlights include heated seats, automatic windscreen wipers, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. You can also add on a nice looking audio system complete with ten speakers dotted around the car. There’s also the standard display screens to think about, and you can upgrade, so the system has an extra USB slot.

The luxury package has all these features on board, of course, and a little more. You can upgrade the vinyl seats to leather, and your touchscreen interface can include HD radio and a navigation system. Telematics will be on board, too, and if you go for the sports version, you can enjoy the obligatory spoiler on the back.

Interior and Comfort

Sitting in the CT200H is a pleasant experience, albeit not one that screams luxury. It’s no surprise given its price point – a quick look at the RRG Group will tell you how much you can expect to pay. However, Lexus have been clever with their materials. They are using recycled, sustainable gear to furnish the car wherever possible. So, not only are you using less fuel, but you are also helping the environment in a material sense, too.

Lexus

The seats are comfy and feel robust enough for a hard drive. There’s plenty of leg space, too. Getting into the car is another thing entirely, however. The front doors are fine, but the passenger doors are on the small side. Adults of a larger size might struggle to get in and out with any ease – or composure.

There’s a good amount of space in the back, but you can’t expect miracles with a hatchback. That said, put the back seats down and you will free up enough room for a road trip or a holiday for two.

Performance

OK, so let’s start the engine. The Lexus CT200H is not going to win any awards for speed and acceleration. It’s a little sluggish on the motorways, to be honest, with total output sitting at 134 hp. It’s going to take you over ten seconds to get from 0-60 mph – not great, but it won’t keep you struggling to overtake milk vans.

Of course, when you have a hybrid car, you have two choices. You can go for power and speed, but expect to pay through the nose when it comes to fuel efficiency. So, if you are looking for an excellent mpg rate rather than a speedster, the CT200H is worth a look. Lexus estimate you can get around 42mpg combined although this can be more for city driving.

All this said, the CT200H is a handy little vehicle, and handles well. There are automatic collision sensors on board, too, so you shouldn’t have any problems parking in busy areas. In short, it’s a great little car for the city and town – but less so for long distance drivers.

Conclusion

So where is the disconnect between reviewers and the general public when it comes to the Lexus CT200H? Well, just like art and movie critics, auto reviewers can be a snobby bunch. There’s an element of dislike in mainstream cars, and even the good ones seem to receive faint praise.

But, reviewers just aren’t like the rest of us. They get to drive some of the best vehicles on the road, but won’t take them out for long. So, while their first impressions will involve comparing a car with stiff competition, they won’t have time to get a real feel for the vehicle.

Average folk tend to feel a little different. They have the time to get to know the car. Owners begin to notice the money saving through fuel economy, work out the car’s quirks, and get to enjoy the experience a lot more.

So the big question is, can the Lexus CT200H stand up as your next car? If you are in the market for a hybrid hatchback, it’s still one of your best options. Whether it can hold off from its competitors for much longer, though, is another question entirely. For the moment, though, it is a great city car that offers a lot of value and options. It’s a good entry point for anyone new to hybrids and looks stylish enough to appease most tastes.

Think the CT200H might be for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!