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  • Thailand reveals its EV roadmap – three-phase plan into 2030, 30% of local production to be EVs by then

    Thailand is aiming to have electric vehicles (EV) account for 30% of its automotive production by 2030. This was outlined in the country’s EV roadmap that was unveiled last week, The Nation reports. Details of the plan were revealed by the country’s energy minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow following a meeting of the national electric vehicle policy committee.

    The roadmap is made up of a three-phase development plan. Under Phase 1 of the programme, which will run from this year until 2022, the government will promote electric motorcycles and support the development of its infrastructure nationwide.

    From 2023 to 2025, it will initiate Phase 2, where the EV industry will be developed to produce 225,000 cars and pick-up trucks, 360,000 motorcycles and 18,000 buses/trucks, including the production of batteries. As indicated by the report, this first milestone is designed to deliver cost advantages via economies of scale.

    In Phase 3, which will run from 2026 to 2030, the country will adopt a “30/30 policy,” working towards a target of producing 725,000 EV cars and pick-ups plus 675,000 EV motorcycles by 2030, which would constitute 30% of all auto production. This will also include the domestic manufacture of batteries.

    The last adheres to the original 30% EV intent proposed last year, scaling the percentage back down from an upscoped 50% mentioned last month when the country stated its intention to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. The report added that the EV policy committee will also set up financial and tax incentives, as well as safety standards, for EV and battery manufacturers.

     
  • 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser to have GR Sport variant, all-new J300 flagship SUV set to debut end of this month

    Aiyo, launch it already la! That would be the Malaysian response to yet another leaked piece of info regarding the 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser. According to the latest goss, Toyota’s iconic 4×4 will launch at the end of this month/start of June, and there will even be a GR Sport version of the J300!

    According to Instagram user landcruiserupdates, picked up by Motor1, a document sent to third parties show that the embargo for the official reveal ends at the end of this month, pointing at May 31 or June 1 as the official reveal date. That’s two weeks away.

    The leaked specs from that IG account was discussed by YouTuber Kirk Kreifels, who pointed out that the new GR-S variant will available with both petrol and diesel engines, besides being the only LC to come with electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) technology with front and rear differential locks.

    Not all would want GR badges on a Land Cruiser, so the luxury flagship will be the ZX, which will sport chrome accents, 20-inch wheels, interior wood trim and leather upholstery, among other luxury-related goodies. There will also be a ZX-exclusive rear-seat entertainment system with dual 11.6-inch touchscreens.

    Both the sporty GR-S and luxe ZX will share a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system hooked up to a 14-speaker JBL sound system. Both will also feature a 3D Multi-Terrain Monitor system with an underbody camera, plus a washer for the reverse camera. Other goodies include four-zone climate control and a head-up display.

    The Land Cruiser GR-S will have its own bumpers and grille, plus 18-inch alloys and CF-style trim for the cabin, the reports add. The internal docs show that the Land Cruiser will come with 3.3L turbodiesel and 3.5T petrol V6 engines. The oil burner is quoted with 302 hp/700 Nm (40 hp and 50 Nm more than before) while the turbo petrol gets 409 hp/650 Nm. Not long more now.

    GALLERY: 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

     

  • Singapore wants old motorcycles off the road by 2028

    In an effort to improve environmental conditions, the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore will be tightening emissions standard for all motorcycles registered in the island nation be before July 1, 2003. Such motorcycles can continue to be used till June 30, 2028, provided the motorcycle complies with current emissions standards.

    As of April 1, 2023, Singapore will adopt the latest United Nations (UN) noise standard for motorcycle exhaust systems which are more stringent than current regulations in force. This lead time allows motorcycle dealers in Singapore to obtain vehicles that comply with the impending noise and emissions regulations.

    The stricter emissions standard will also apply to foreign registered motorcycles entering Singapore, a move likely to have implications for the large number of Malaysians working there who commute daily from Johor. For that particular case, random emissions testing on Malaysian registered motorcycles will be carried out at the Causeway and enforcement operations on the island itself.

    For owners of older motorcycles in Singapore, deregistration of their vehicle is encouraged, with an incentive of 3,500 SGD (RM10,829) given as an incentive. The incentive is available to April 5, 2023 with statistics showing nearly 60% of 27,000 motorcycles eligible having benefited.

    Stricter enforcement of noise and emissions standards comes as no surprise as many countries around the world are doing so. In Malaysia, the recent crack down on noisy motorcycle exhausts had local riders up in arms claiming biased and one-sided enforcement.

     
  • “Honest debate” needed on the impact of EVs on jobs

    Mercedes-Benz’s electric car range is quite well received by the public, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius said in an interview with The Financial Times, adding that the company is well ahead of its goal to phase out the internal combustion engine by 2039. But, there exists a problem.

    Kallenius said Daimler is ready for the electric future, but if the European Union wants to accelerate the shift to zero-emissions cars, there needs to be an open debate on the impact that electrification will have on jobs. “It’s an ambition that we say yes to, but we have to have an honest conversation about jobs,” he said.

    “Everyone knows it takes more labour hours to assemble and build a combustion-based powertrain compared to an electric powertrain,” he added. This follows a warning from IG Metall president (metalworkers’ union in Germany) Joerg Hofmann, who said a study conducted by the Ifo institute showed the transition to EVs could cost the industry approximately 100,000 jobs by 2025.

    This is specifically for workers who are in combustion engine production, and the numbers could be higher if companies fail to raise efforts to reskill workers. Kallenius said the impact on jobs has to be handled in a “socially responsible way,” and noted that Daimler is in a “very constructive dialogue” with its work council.

    Hopefully, more jobs can be created in areas such as software engineering. “But it [the engine jobs impact] is not something where we should not acknowledge that it’s there,” Kallenius said. “It is there.”

     
  • McLaren 720S gets Gulf livery to celebrate partnership

    McLaren is continuing to celebrate its renewed partnership with Gulf Oil with another bespoke creation wearing one of the most recognisable motorsport liveries of all time. This 720S is the work of the McLaren Special Operations (MSO), which is the brand’s in-house personalisation division, and comes after an Elva that received the same treatment.

    Set to be offered in limited quantities, the livery you see here isn’t a wrap but was painstakingly painted by hand over 20 days by the MSO team, with the iconic blue and orange hues supplied by AkzoNobel. The end result not only celebrates the partnership between McLaren and Gulf Oil, but pay homage to the legendary and successful McLaren F1 GTR race cars that wore the livery.

    Besides the primary paintwork, MSO also incorporated finer details like painting the brake calipers in the Gulf solid orange colour. Meanwhile, the interior carries on the theme with appropriately-coloured stitching and Gulf logos embroidered on the headrests and painted on the sills. Even the steering wheel gets some distinctive touches like a centre band to match the exterior stripe in orange, while the carbon-fibre spokes have a solid dark blue finish applied on them.

    What remains unchanged is the engine, with the M840T 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 delivering 720 PS (710 hp) and 770 Nm of torque, allowing for a 0-100 km/h time of 2.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 341 km/h.

    “The 720S in Gulf colours celebrates two high-performance brands who draw on a deep automotive and racing history that have embarked on a new strategic partnership to excite customers and fans around the world,” said Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive.

    “Gulf and McLaren have a relationship that dates back to 1968 and is one of the most successful and recognised partnerships. We’re proud to have worked closely with McLaren Special Operations to showcase the distinguished racing blue and fluro orange Gulf colourways on the 720S,” commented Mike Jones, CEO of Gulf Oil International.

    The Elva and 720S aren’t the only recent cars to get a Gulf livery, as the company’s Formula 1 team will also be rocking the colours on their MCL35M race cars at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

     
  • AD: Earn up to three times ePoints when you fuel up at BHPetrol stations – redeemable for fuel/merchandise

    Being rewarded for something you do often is certainly a win, and that’s exactly what you can expect with the eCard from BHPetrol. With every fuel up, your car not only benefits from the technological advantage of BHPetrol fuels, but you’ll also receive ePoints that can then be used to redeem fuel or merchandise.

    To make sure you rack up those ePoints quickly, since April 1, 2021, you’ll receive twice the normal amount of ePoints (TWO ePoints) for every litre of Infiniti Euro 4M RON 95 or RON 97 petrol purchased, and this also extends to those who fuel up with Infiniti Euro 5 Diesel B10.

    For a limited time until June 30, 2021, users of Infiniti Euro 5 Diesel B7 – marked out by a blue nozzle and hose – will receive three times the standard number of ePoints (THREE ePoints) for every litre purchased. Of course, there’s more than one way to earn ePoints besides purchasing fuel, and every ringgit (RM1) spent at BHPetrol station shops (excluding Touch ‘n Go reloads, e-pay transactions and car wash services) will also net you ONE ePoint.

    It’s certainly easy to earn ePoints, but what can you spend them on? Well, you can see use them to redeem fuel or merchandise at BHPetrol stations, with 950 ePoints being equivalent to a cash value of RM10, and 550 ePoints for RM5. You can also save your ePoints to redeem some lovely gifts on the eCard portal, including electronic devices, vouchers, watches and more!

    You can keep track of the number of ePoints earned using the dedicated eCard mobile app for Android and iOS devices, where you’ll also be able to find the nearest BHPetrol station and view redeemable items.

    If you are looking to be a part of the eCard programme, head on over BHPetrol’s official website to register yourself and find out more. While you’re there, you can also check out the extensive list of items that are available for redemption.

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  • Stellantis and Foxconn to announce partnership soon

    Stellantis and Foxconn are set to announce a strategic partnership later today, which is expected to focus on the development of electric vehicles. Further details will be revealed via a conference which will be attended by Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis; Young Liu, chairman at Foxconn; Yves Bonnefont, chief software officer at Stellantis; and Calvin Chih, CEO at FIH, a subsidiary of Foxconn.

    Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which has since merged with PSA Group to form Stellantis, revealed its intention to set up a joint venture with Hon Hai Precision Industry (trading as Foxconn Technology Group) to build EVs and developed internet-connected vehicles for China.

    However, the plan never came to fruition due to the aforementioned merger that resulted in Stellantis, which is now seeking a relaunch in China, the world’s largest EV market. As such, the imminent partnership would boost Stellantis’ competitiveness in China.

    Besides Stellantis, Foxconn, which also makes Apple iPhones, has dealings with other companies, including Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to provide contract manufacturing to automakers like Faraday Future. Foxconn has also been contracted to assemble vehicles for Byton in 2022 as well as for Fisker in 2023.

     
  • Works Engineering to develop parts for Proton X50, appoints S1K winner Fariqe Hairuman as ambassador

    Since Proton management entered a new era with Geely in 2017, the national carmaker’s performance division, Proton R3 has so far focused its efforts on circuit racing, and its has attained considerable success from its efforts.

    While it doesn’t yet appear that Proton is once again turning its attention to the development of a complete performance parts line for its road-going models, the aftermarket remains active, and the X50 SUV as seen here is next on the radar of Works Engineering.

    The images here from the Works Engineering Facebook page shows an Executive variant of the compact SUV at Proton R3 headquarters in Shah Alam, where it was photographed with Proton R3 team principal Gary Lee and driver Fariqe Hairuman, the latter also appointed as Works Engineering ambassador.

    Works Engineering has prior form with making performance parts for Proton cars, as the firm has previously released a variety of components such as adjustable crankshaft pulleys, induction kits and others for the S4P-based engines in Campro and CFE forms, which serve in models such as the Satria Neo, Preve and Suprima S.

    “We are very excited this year – together with Fariqe – to bring extraordinary, high-end products and a better driving experience to the consumer market and to bring the team to greater heights,” wrote Works Engineering in its Facebook post. The firm has previously put together Satria Neo and Preve project cars in 2011, and the X50 is set to be the latest addition to that list, it said.

    Though the Executive variant of the Proton X50 enlisted here uses the same 1.5 litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine base across the range, it is slightly down on its outputs compared to the all-singing, all-dancing top Flagship variant; 150 PS at 5,500 rpm and 226 Nm from 1,500 rpm to 4,000 rpm in the Executive plays 177 PS and 255 Nm of torque from the Flagship.

    This can be attributed to differences in the fuelling systems of each variant. While the Executive variant employs multi-point fuel injection, the engine in the Flagship features direct fuel injection.

    While the extent of the Works Engineering programme for the X50 remains to be seen, the prospect of closing the gap between headline output figures of the two factory engine specifications could be a tantalising one, not least for owners of the Standard, Executive and Premium variants.

    Certainly with forced induction, generating numbers considerably greater than those from the factory is possible. For those of you brave enough to forego factory warranty – what do you think is the tuner ‘sweet spot’ for a vehicle such as the Proton X50?

    GALLERY: Proton X50 1.5T Executive

     
  • Mitsubishi Pajero Final Edition lands in Australia – 800 units, extra accessories, from RM176k to RM204k

    Buyers may be shifting more and more towards SUVs, but they are also moving away from hardcore off-roaders and into road-biased crossovers, leaving dinosaurs like the Mitsubishi Pajero with nowhere to go. After nearly 40 years, production of the legendary 4×4 concluded in March, and Australia is commemorating the end of an era with a Final Edition that has just landed Down Under.

    As yet, it is unclear if this Final Edition is the same one that was introduced in Japan to mark the end of domestic sales back in 2019. Given that Australia is getting a larger 800-unit limited run (Japan only received 700 units), however, it is likely that the Antipodean version is a local special.

    Aside from the obligatory “Final Edition” badging, these vehicles will also be differentiated by a range of dealer-fitted accessories, including a tinted bonnet deflector, carpet mats, a rear cargo liner, a rear boot flap and a leather-bound compendium. By contrast, the Japanese model featured illuminated side sill scuff plates with the FE’s serial number, special stickers and a neat Citizen watch with matching serial numbers.

    Beyond that, the Pajero remains unchanged, continuing to be offered in GLX, GLS and Exceed variants. The Final Edition tacks on a AUS$500 (RM1,600) premium, which is quite a saving considering that the aforementioned accessories (minus the compendium and badging) normally cost over AUS$700 (RM2,200).

    As such, the GLX with seven seats, a limited-slip differential, an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-compatible seven-inch infotainment touchscreen and a reverse camera costs AUS$54,990 (RM176,200), while the AUS$60,490 (RM193,900) GLS adds 18-inch alloy wheels, reverse sensors, powered and heated seats, auto lights and wipers and a Rocker Fosgate sound system.

    The Exceed, which throws in chrome exterior highlights, leather upholstery, a sunroof and aluminium pedals, costs AUS$63,490 (RM203,500). Power continues to come from a 3.2 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel producing 189 hp and 441 Nm of torque, mated to a five-speed INVECS-II automatic gearbox and a Super Select II all-wheel drive system.

    By ending production, Mitsubishi is calling time on its flagship SUV, which made its first appearance in 1982 and has spawned four generations. Once the favourite of police officers and construction managers all over Malaysia, the last iteration of the Pajero debuted way back in 2006, meaning that the current model is retiring at the ripe age of 15.

    GALLERY: Mitsubishi Pajero Final Edition, Japanese market

     
  • Mazda expects chip shortage to affect production in FY2022 – 1.287 million cars sold in FY2021, 9% drop

    According to Mazda’s managing executive officer Tetsuya Fujimoto, the Japanese carmaker expects global production to reduce by 100,000 units in its current fiscal year (FY2022) due to the ongoing global semiconductor shortage.

    This was revealed during a recent earnings call, where the company also announced its results for the previous financial year (FY2021). From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, Mazda delivered a total of 1.287 million cars, which was 9% less than the 1.419 million cars recorded in FY2020.

    In North America and China, Mazda experienced an increase in sales by 2% and 8% respectively, although dips in Japan (-13%) and Europe (32%) led to an overall decline. The ASEAN region also saw a drop in sales of Mazda vehicles, with Thailand singled out for recording a 23% year-on-year (YoY) reduction to just 40,000 units.

    There were some bright spots, as Vietnam and Australia experienced a 1% and 3% YoY growth, with the latter also securing a higher market share of 9.8% (+1%). Other markets however, were down 13% YoY.

    The decline in demand resulted in a reduced operating income, with 8.8 billion yen recorded in FY2021 compared to 43.6 billion yen in FY2020. Unsurprisingly, the impact from Covid-19 affected Mazda heavily, requiring the company to push for sales recovery, fixed cost reduction and variable profit improvement that saw recovery in the second half of FY2021.

    For FY2022, Mazda expects sales volume to climb to 1.41 million cars, accompanied by an operating profit of 65 billion yen. However, the company is cautious about ongoing issues such as the semiconductor shortage and rising prices of raw materials.

     
 

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Last Updated 13 May 2021