By Moses Akaigwe 08072100049
The Managing Director of Nissan sub-Sahara Africa, Mike Whitfield, has predicted that plug-in automobiles, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, could become the world’s most desired vehicles by 2040, with Nissan LEAF appropriating 35 per cent of the global sales,
Whitfield recently made the observation in South Africa and hinged his projection on growing affordability of batteries and introduction of wireless charging capability.
He said: “We are already seeing the effects of these fast-moving technologies in cars today and the most prominent being the ‘green mobility,’ where electric vehicle technology evolved.”
Although the electric vehicle market in Africa is still small, “it is poised to change, if government plays a key role in harnessing Africa’s carbon footprint,”the Nissan director said.
Meanwhile, sales of plug-in vehicles, including electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, reached the 1.5 million mark in 2015, representing about 0.1 per cent of the cars on the road worldwide.
The South African government has been eager to roll out large-scale electric vehicles, having partnered with automakers and other stakeholders in a variety of electric vehicle expansions.
The collaboration is expected to inspire more automakers to roll out fast-charging stations by 2017, like Nissan and BMW, to expand the national charging network for their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
While there are no indications yet as to when investments in plug-in automobiles would commence in Nigeria, South Africa and Mauritius are currently the only countries in sub-Sahara Africa with sufficient infrastructure to support electric vehicles.
Technology in self-driving vehicles, which combines robotics technology, artificial intelligence, sensors and car-to-car connectivity, is also evolving rapidly, Whitfield noted.
He said: “Though there isn’t yet a driverless car, autonomous drive technology are being introduced gradually to enhance driving experience and Nissan has incorporated some of these features in its vehicle line-up.
“They include lane departure warning, blind spot warning, active ride assist, and around-view monitor with parking assist.
“A recent development was the launch of the first Piloted Drive 1.0 car in Japan, featuring steering, accelerator and braking technology that can be operated in full automatic mode.”
Whitfield has advocated partnership with information and communications technology experts, such as the Nissan-Renault Alliance with Microsoft, to develop technologically savvy vehicles for the next generation.
Hyundai reveals details of powerful, all-new Azera
Hyundai Motors has revealed more details of the all-new Azera in a series of new images that emphasise the signature sedan’s sophisticated exterior and interior design. The sixth generation Azera is rich in heritage and will lead a new era of design for Hyundai when it launches in Korea next month.
The latest interior and exterior images of the Azera, badged as Grandeur in Korea, show an advanced, glamourous design that builds on traditional design cues from previous generations of the Azera. Its own legacy is assured by Hyundai’s new three-dimensional ‘cascading grille’ that sets a prestigious yet futuristic tone, while the rest of the car continues the dramatic expression with balanced proportions and beautiful detailing.
The exterior of the all-new Azera forms an elegant and dynamic silhouette, with the slim, horizontal headlamps and a grille positioned low down to visually lower the centre of gravity and enhance the car’s powerful stance. Precise yet rhythmical character lines are present from the front hood all the way through to the sophisticated, sensuous curvature of the rear fenders, with the distinctive rear light signature honoring traditional Azera design cues.
The cascading grille leads a new era of Hyundai Motors design, creating a strong presence worthy of a signature sedan. Powerful body lines stamped into the Azera’s hood present a purposeful image, harmonising with the muscular rear silhouette. The proportions and striking lines combine to reflect the car’s balance of comfort and performance-driving capabilities.
The all-new Azera is expected in the Nigerian market courtesy of Hyundai Motors Nigeria (Stallion Motors) next year.
FRSC, NB launch Don’t Drink and Drive campaign
Nigerian Breweries Plc has reiterated its commitment to sensitising the public on the importance of responsible consumption of alcohol and safety-consciousness among motorists.
The company disclosed this recently through its head, Corporate Affairs, Kuffre Ekanem, during its annual social responsibility campaign in partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), with the theme “Don’t Drink and Drive.”
Ekanem, who spoke through the Sustainability/Regulatory Relations Manager, Mr. Edem Vindah, at the launch of this year’s campaign, noted that Ebonyi, Ekiti and Edo states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had been selected to benefit from the road shows and public enlightenment sessions at motor parks.
Guests at the ceremony at NB Plc’s premises in Iganmu, Lagos, were told that the choice of the three states and the FCT was in response to statistics provided by the FRSC on road traffic crashes across the country.
“Since the programme’s launch in 2008, we have held 35 rallies in major cities across the country. These rallies continue to attract large turnout of stakeholders that includes commercial and private vehicle drivers, motorcycle and tricycle riders. Responsible consumption messages with the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ message are also communicated through print and electronic media during the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ campaign period,” he said.
In his remarks, the FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, commended NB Plc for being consistent in its collaboration with the corps to entrench road safety consciousness through responsible drinking habits among drivers.
The Corps Marshal, who was represented by the Corps’ Public Education Officer, Mr. Imoh Etuk, disclosed that since the subtle enforcement of the regulation on installation of speed limiters commenced on October 1, the corps has checked 77,817 vehicles, out of which 3,980 vehicles were found to have installed the device, while 73,837 others were yet to comply, which translated to 5.11 per cent compliance.
He said: “Further to its desire to make the roads safer during this season, the FRSC has put some measures in place through Special Intervention Patrols and the usual special patrol during the yuletide. The theme for this year’s end-of-year campaign is “Crash the Crashes, Kill the Speed” as part of the corps’ resolve to drastically reduce the spate of road traffic crashes during the ‘ember’ season”.
“Don’t Drink and Drive” is held annually by NB Plc and the FRSC towards the end of the year in response to the high volume of traffic associated with Christmas and New Year festivities.