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The new XC90, with “Thor’s hammer” DRL lights. Click to enlarge.
Volvo Cars revealed the XC90, its new 7-seat SUV, at an event in Sweden. Three years in the making and part of an $11-billion investment program, the new XC90 leverages the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology, and will offer a range of two-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains. The two launch engines are the D5 twin turbo diesel and the T6 supercharged and turbocharged gasoline unit. Top of the model range will be the XC90 Twin Engine—a plug-in hybrid delivering around 400 hp (298 kW) with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). (Earlier post.)
Volvo Cars also announced the release of a limited First Edition of its new flagship; the 1,927 individually numbered cars celebrate the year Volvo was founded and will only be available for sale online at www.volvocars.com, beginning 3 Sep.
The engines are teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 4-corner air suspension includes Four-C, an electronically controlled damping system. There is a choice of five modes, including one in which the driver is free to tailor the settings to his or her personal taste.
For the North American market, the suggested price of the First Edition is $65,900. Full details on standard pricing will come later, but Volvo did say that a well-equipped XC90 T6 AWD will have a starting price of $48,900. The XC90 T6 AWD will come standard with such features as Navigation, 19" wheels, a power laminated panoramic sunroof, and car connectivity.
The all-new XC90 features an advanced safety package including two world-first safety technologies: a run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability. (Earlier post.)
In a run-off road scenario, the all-new Volvo XC90 detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened to keep the occupants in position. To help prevent spine injuries, energy-absorbing functionality between the seat and seat frame cushions the vertical forces that can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain.
The XC90 is also the first car with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. This is a common scenario at busy city crossings as well as on highways, where the speed limit is higher.
City Safety is the umbrella name for all of Volvo Cars’ auto brake functions, which are standard equipment in the all-new XC90. It now covers vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians in front of the car, day and night.
Volvo is focusing on three areas to help it reach Vision 2020 (no serious injuries or related deaths in Volvo cars): safety, connectivity and autonomous drive.
With the XC90, we take the first step towards self-driving cars. A new function that automatically follows the vehicle ahead in stop-and-go traffic will provide a radically simplified, semi-autonomous driving experience.—Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management of Volvo Car Group
Volvo’s new face. The new XC90 will be the first Volvo car to carry the company’s new more prominent iron mark, which has the iconic arrow aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille. Together with the T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” DRL lights, the iron mark introduces a new face for Volvo’s forthcoming generation of cars.
The XC90’s larger hood with its new topography, the beltline and the sharpened shoulders connecting with the tattoo-like, new rear lights are other important design signatures that will be mirrored across the range. To add more visual muscle from the sides, the XC90 comes with a range of wheel sizes up to 22 inches.
Authors of the Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change (IPCC) have finished drafting the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and sent the draft to governments for comments on the text.
The Synthesis Report is the final product of the Fifth Assessment cycle. It will integrate key messages from the three recent working group reports: the physical science basis (September 2013); impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (March 2014); and mitigation of climate change (April 2014).
The review period runs from 25 August to 10 October 2014. The comments received from governments will prepare the way for the meeting in Copenhagen on 27-31 October at which the IPCC will finalize the Synthesis Report. At that meeting the IPCC’s member governments will examine the report’s Summary for Policymakers line-by-line and the longer report section-by-section in a dialogue with the authors that have written the report. The report will be released at a press conference on 2 November.
The IPCC received around 6,000 comments in the review of the first draft of the Synthesis Report held between 21 April and 13 June 2014. Besides government, experts from the scientific community were invited to take part in that review. According to the IPCC’s procedures, the authors of a report must respond to every comment received in the review process. To ensure transparency, all the comments and the responses from the authors will be published together with the drafts after the report is published.
Nat G CNG Solutions, a Houston-based company specializing in compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle upgrades, has been selected as a Ford Motor Company Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM). Ford instituted the QVM Program to improve quality assurance for Ford vehicle modifications, including natural gas vehicle upgrades.
Most of the Ford vehicles available for modification by Nat G come in a bi-fuel option that will seamlessly switch between natural gas and gasoline for added convenience when the driver is not near a natural gas fueling station.
Nat G offers Ford qualified natural gas systems for the F150, F250, F350, F450, F550 and F650, as well as the Transit Connect van and the new full-sized Transit van. Nat G works with customers and dealers to find the best vehicle configuration to achieve their goals of increased function and lower cost of ownership.
Nat G has partnered with other Ford QVMs to offer multiple CNG solutions. Nat G is a manufacturer-certified installer for natural gas engine systems from Altech Eco and also for Landi Renzo, the world’s leading manufacturer of natural gas vehicle systems. The company has provided Ford natural gas vehicle upgrades for leading local and national fleets, including Centerpoint Energy, Southwestern Energy, Boyer Construction, Apple Towing and others.
Johnson Controls is investing in a German automotive research project working to combine steel and aluminum in laser-welded tailored tubes for use in seats for the first time. The result could be a 10 to 20 percent reduction in weight, which would be beneficial for fuel and emissions balance.
Tailored tubes are already used to a great extent in the large series production of vehicle seats, but in this project, they consist of steel and aluminum of various wall thicknesses. As part of the research project “Hydroforming of laser-brazed tailored hybrid tubes of a steel-aluminum blend for automotive lightweight construction” (Innenhochdruckumformen laserstrahlgelöteter Tailored Hybrid Tubes aus Stahl-Aluminium-Mischverbindungen für den automobilen Leichtbau, IHU-TUT), which runs until 31 January 2016, the project partners are researching the opportunity to make use of the significant weight advantages of aluminum by combining it with steel in the hollow components.
The research team, consisting of scientists from the Institute for Integrated Production (IPH) and the Hanover Laser Center (LZH), is using laser-brazing to create a sturdy and durable weld. During the project’s 24-month duration, scientists, companies in the field of laser technology, and automotive suppliers and manufacturers will be working to optimize the production process and prepare for industrial applications such as automotive body parts, impact protection for doors and seat cross members.
The primary challenge is first connecting the steel and aluminum tube segments. The hollow components are given their final geometry by means of hydroforming. Conventional bonding processes such as welding are not suited for the connecting welds between aluminum and steel because they cannot withstand the extreme pressure from the fluid medium during the hydroforming process.
We are currently investing first and foremost in development and simulation services, and supporting the project with extensive component tests. In the next step, we will produce the components and then present a concept seat with a THT back.—Andreas Eppinger, group vice president technology management, Johnson Controls Automotive Seating
The project, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as well as the Research Association for Automotive Technology (FAT), offers Johnson Controls several approaches with future potential that are to be validated in the course of the project.
For one, we could realize an enormous reduction in weight with seat backs made of hybrid tailored tubes, not only from the lighter material mix of steel and aluminum, but also from using fewer components. We are also researching the option of a direct, high-strength integration of the seat back recliner. This way we could finally do away with the additional required adjustment parts and create global production processes that are both faster and more efficient.—Andreas Eppinger
In addition, attractive design options are opened up with the load-specific design of the seat back components. In designing its concept frame, Johnson Controls is using an optical lightweight construction with concave contours: an ultra-thin frame design with concave surfaces on the rear of the seat back will offer rear seat passengers unusually generous knee space and significantly increase package and ease of use.