With INCIT-EV, Renault takes bold steps to test out charging solutions in Europe…

2019 – Porto Santo ecosystem – a bold experiment of insular bi-directional charging already launched by Renault

Together with major industry partners and the help of the European commission through their Horizon 2020 project, Renault takes the (electric) bull by the horns. We all are well aware of the problem: charging infrastructure is still cruelly lacking in many European countries.

The project is called INCIT-EV, and Renault is coordinating it. It aims to encourage the development of electromobility in Europe through field experiments.

7 innovative charging technologies for electric vehicles will be tested in chosen locations in Europe, just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

2019 – Porto Santo ecosystem another project by Renault

The project is worked out in collaboration with 32 partners in Europe. Spanning the 48 months from January 2020 through December 2023, the INCIT-EV project will be broken down into two primary phases:

·Phase 1 will first involve analysing user needs and requirements, followed in April 2020 by an assessment of charging technologies and their integration into infrastructures.

·Phase 2 will focus on 7 tech demonstrations on selected sites and will run from the second half of 2022 to the end of the project. These 7 demonstrations are:

– A dynamic induction charging system for the urban environment in Paris, France;

– High voltage charging systems in the outskirts of Tallinn, Estonia;

– Optimised bidirectional “smart charging” in Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Netherlands;

– A dynamic induction charging system in peri-urban/long-range areas in Versailles, France;

– A charging hub in a car park for car-share vehicles in the outskirts of Turin, Italy;

– Low power bidirectional charging (for two-wheeled vehicles also) and static wireless charging in taxi lanes located at the airport and central station in Zaragoza, Spain.

2019 – Porto Santo ecosystem

 ·

A pan-european project brought to life by the Renault Group…

To address the needs to test the charging technologies in real-life conditions – such as the Contactless Dynamic Charging technology – and to structure the whole ecosystem, Groupe Renault took the European Commission’s call for new projects as an opportunity to create a consortium. In the capacity of coordinator, Groupe Renault serves as intermediary between the European Commission and the consortium partners, and oversees the technical development, budgeting, and scheduling.

Not less than thirty-two leading industrial companies, universities, institutes, cities, start-ups, and SMEs positively answered the call put out by Renault, with the shared desire to promote electric mobility in Europe by carrying out electric car’s user-centric experiments.

Groupe Renault experiments already on alrge scale with bi-directional charging, here in the Netherlands…

These 33 members of the consortium are based in Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey.

Needless to say that we will follow up closely on this initiative, as an electric powered car is only so useful as it can be practical in daily (commercial) life.

Having said this, we will in these columns also concentrate in the future more on the professional mobility, i.e. LCV’s and all purpose pick-ups and offroads, a segment which has become eminently important in Europe. We wrote in these columns already about the electric Fiat Ducato for instance and the people behind it. We will soon look more closely at the state of electrification of LCV’s and what it holds for the (near) future.

Stay (E)tuned…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A clever breakthrough of Seat: a car that communicates with traffic lights…

We all know the frustration: however slow or fast you accelerate from a traffic light, the next one will always be red, even if, as it happens so often, this next light is only a few hundred metres away. We all know too well how much energy is wasted with this. Seat now started a project together with the Spanish Traffic Authority, the Barcelona City Council and ETRA.

It successfully connects vehicles with traffic lights and the traffic control centre so drivers can anticipate their upcoming status. This project also enables information on motorway incidents to get sent directly to vehicles without the need for information panels, bringing cars and infrastructure together via the cloud using cellular technology with latency times of 300 milliseconds.

Oh so clever!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Vehicles connected with traffic lights and road infrastructure.

The vehicle used in this pilot project is equipped with the necessary technology to connect with its surroundings and receive information uploaded by the Traffic Authority to the cloud, which in turn enables the driver to anticipate what lies ahead in real time.

“In this project, SEAT’s new connected cars receive real-time traffic information from the Traffic Authority’s central cloud, including information displayed on motorway panels or the traffic light status in cities”, explains Jordi Caus, the Head of Urban Mobility Concepts at SEAT.

How does it work?

When a vehicle is approaching a traffic light, an alert appears on the screen showing whether it will be red, green or yellow when it arrives, as the system performs a calculation based on how far away the car is and the speed it is travelling at. One important note for safety is that it only works as long as the vehicle is not exceeding the speed limit. “The system does not work at above maximum speeds, which is very important for road safety. It wants to be an auxiliary tool that enables motorists to drive more smoothly”, assures Manuel Valdés, the Head of Mobility and Infrastructures at the Barcelona City Council.

Information panels in your car, too.

Today there are 2,000 information panels in Barcelona that provide drivers with traffic and weather conditions or information about road work or accidents. With this system, all this information is displayed directly on the screens of connected vehicles at any point of the road network. According to Jorge, “we can accomplish the same as what we used to do with variable message signs on the motorway, but now directly to the car from any point on the road.”

A future of collaborative information…

In addition, connected cars and users themselves will also be information suppliers. “Anyone with information about what happens on the road can share it,  so other users will know in advance of any incident when they reach the same point”, explains Jorge.

“With this project we’re taking a first step to connect cars with overall traffic infrastructure. We’ve begun with information functions, but with the future autonomous vehicles in mind we’ll be able to act directly on the car in situations of risk”, concludes Jordi Caus.

A harbinger of good things to come, we would say!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Audi e-tron goes Sportback…

Indeed, an extra zest of sportiness is added to the already iconic Audi e-tron. The Sportback version looks and is more dynamic, as it offers up to 300 kW of power and a range of up to 446 kilometers (277.1 miles). A new feature, and for the first offered on a in a mass-production vehicle, are its digital matrix LED headlights.

This was also clearly visible at the Los Angeles presentation of this elegant SUV Coupé, where the rakish and elegant contours of the Sportback were lit by an array of LED headlights in the background, and mounted on a robot alongside the car.

Just read on for more details…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The Audi e-tron Sportback looks very good in the typical Audi design language.  The roof drops down steeply to the rear—in typical coupé style— and is flowing into the steeply raked D-pillars. The lower edge of the third side window rises towards the rear—also a typical Sportback feature.

The designers also varied the signature at the broad diffuser, drawing attention to the absence of exhaust tailpipes. A light strip connects the LED lights to one another.

Announcing even more colour…

A total of thirteen paint finishes are available for the all-electric drive SUV coupé, including the new colour plasma blue, metallic, which is exclusive to the e-tron Sportback. The logo on the electric charging flap features the eye-catching high-voltage signal colour orange, which can also be applied to the brake callipers on request.

The S line model emphasizes the sporting DNA of the Audi e-tron Sportback, and is standard equipped with 20-inch wheels and sport air suspension. At the rear end, the spoiler as well as a striking diffuser which extends across the entire vehicle width, contributes to the outstanding vehicle aerodynamics. In contrast to the basic model, the attachments on the S line exterior are painted in the exterior body colour – including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers and exterior mirrors.

For those who want more contrast, Audi also offers the so-called black styling package that accentuates the area of the Singleframe, the side windows, and the bumper. The exterior mirror housings are also available in black as an option.

A drag coefficient of merely 0.25…

In conjunction with the S line exterior and virtual exterior mirrors, the Sportback achieves an drag coefficient value of just 0.25. This is primarily due to the coupé body shape and the associated lower aerodynamic drag behind the car. The high separating edge of the Sportback minimizes swirl in the air flow in this area.

Global innovation in a production vehicle: The digital matrix LED headlights

With the digital matrix LED headlights as top-of-the range equipment, Audi presents a worldwide first in a production vehicle: Broken down into minute pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high resolution. The design is based on a technology abbreviated as DMD (digital micromirror device) and is also used in many video projectors.

Audi e-tron Sportback: digital matrix LED headlight

At its heart is a small chip containing one million micromirrors, each of whose edge length measures just a few hundredths of a millimeter. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. Depending on the setting, the LED light is either directed via the lenses onto the road or is absorbed in order to mask out areas of the light beam.

Revolution ahead: just follow the light…

These LED lights will be seen on the e-tron Sportback mid 2020, and they can perform multiple tasks. It can generate dynamic leaving- and coming-home animations that appear as projections on a wall or on the ground. This presentation transforms the area in front of the car into a carefully illuminated stage. Not only does the digital light system deliver cornering, city, and highway lighting as versions of the low-beam light with exceptional precision, it also supplements the high-beam light by masking out other road users with even greater accuracy.

Above all, however, it offers innovative functions such as lane light and orientation light. On freeways, the lane light creates a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane brightly and adjusts dynamically when he or she changes lane.

In this way, it improves the driver’s awareness of the relevant lane and contributes to improved road safety. In addition, the orientation light uses darkened areas masked out from the light beam to predictively show the vehicle’s position in the lane, thereby supporting—especially on narrow roads or in highway construction zones—the safe lane centering assist.

The marking light function is also used in conjunction with the optional night vision assist. The light automatically draws attention to any pedestrians it detects, thereby reducing the danger of overlooking pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the lane.

Detail

On the second part of this report, we will tell you more about the dynamic qualities, the drivetrain, i.e. batteries and engines, interior and connectivity of this e-tron Sportback…

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Kia’s Futuron Concept shows how Kia sees new designs for future electric vehicles…

A tall standing Urban Coupé with fluid, inviting lines…

Kia recently showed a stunning electric coupé with novel proportions. This Futuron made its public debut at the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Its low-profile SUV coupe body makes a strong statement of intent for Kia’s future cars, which will be – as the manufacturer puts it – confident, sporty and modern, yet also elegant. At 4,850 mm in length, 1,550 mm tall and with a 3,000 mm-long wheelbase, it has an elevated ground clearance is matched with a low, lean body to create a dynamic, confident posture.

It is indeed a sports car… on an SUV platform. Clever. Because this makes – like for instance in the Audi e-tron – room for the batteries to be lodged beneath the cabin floor. The advantage is also that the elevated stance of the car is therefore matched with a low center of gravity.

And that slightly more elevated stance is just what you want in an urban car, even if it has the sleek shape of a coupé.

Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

This “E”-Coupé is powered by four powerful in-wheel electric motors. This e-AWD system delivers as you can expect lively responses to driver inputs.

But the important hallmark here is its fluid, intriguing design. The front fender flows backwards from the front of the hood before plunging into the cabin itself, establishing a connection between the driving seat and the road ahead. The concept’s roof is a diamond-shaped panoramic glasshouse which sits atop the 360-degree core, in the best traditions of UFO and flying saucer design. It floods the cabin with natural light, and it also extends down the bonnet to give drivers an unparalleled view ahead. The glasshouse also incorporates a network of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors capable of providing Level 4 autonomous driving features, enabling hands-off and eyes-off driving in most conditions.

Furthermore, the 360-degree theme is evident in the lighting that illuminates a sharp character line encircling the Futuron’s body.

A new “tiger” face…

The newly-designed front of the car, like that of the Imagine by Kia Concept first revealed earlier in 2019, expresses a new design interpretation for Kia’s future electric vehicles.

With a wider ‘tiger face’ shape, the grille incorporates the Futuron’s headlamps, an innovative ‘Star Cloud’ design which gives the car a dazzling new night-time identity.

Flexible cabin space…

The layout of the electric powertrain and incorporation of Level 4 autonomous driving systems has enabled the creation of a spacious and flexible cabin unlike any other vehicle on roads. The two front seats are created out of flexible materials and can offer an upright ‘driving’ position, or a reclined ‘rest’ position, similar to the flexibility afforded to first-class airline passengers. With the activation of the Futuron’s autonomous driving features, the two front seats recline as the steering wheel retracts. The ‘zero-gravity’ seating position this creates helps to reduce fatigue on long journeys.

One of the most prominent features of the cabin is the ‘cockpit’ area surrounding the driver. The graphical user interface (GUI) of the cockpit flows out of the driver-side door and wraps around the steering wheel in a seamless arc. This merges the instrument cluster directly with the audio-visual display at the center of the dashboard and is linked to the display integrated within the surface of the steering wheel itself.

The GUI is operated by artificial intelligence technologies, displaying useful information about the car various autonomous driving, powertrain and navigation features, which creates a unique user experience.

This is, according to Kia, what driving into the (urban) future is all about. Just look at the photos here…

Hans Knol ten Bensel   

We spoke with Charles Fuster, Product Marketing Manager Fiat 500 X: this Sport version is built to conquer everybody’s sporting heart, like football…

Charles Fuster taking the 500X Sport to the football field…

When Fiat presented the 500 X Sport, they had the very good idea to draw a parallel between its excellent sporting and stylish qualities and embed it into the language and philosophy of top football. Therefore the venue of presenting this new Fiat was at the the “Luigi Ridolfi” Federal Technical Centre in Coverciano (FIorence), a centre of excellence for teaching, training and sport, as well as the historic seat of the Italian Football Federation.

The presentation “in the field” was expertly done by Charles Fuster, Product Marketing Manager 500 X, and the qualities of dynamism, precision, control

Echoing the qualities of the National Team in the Fiat 500 X…

and Italian style of this 500 X Sport were echoed on the accompanying screen by the coaches and specialists of the Italian national team, indeed the same characteristics that lead a player to wear the blue jersey of Italy with pride and joy…

Reason enough to have an interview with Charles Fuster here…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

HK: How did you communicate the enhanced sporting characteristics and properties of the new 500 X to the top people of the Italian Football Federation, how did they tune into this? What was their reaction?

CF: Actually, the starting point and the basis was and is the car. It arrives with important improvements. The balance, the road holding, the performance, the style, and of course, when we had created this story about the car, we focused ourselves on the world of football. This had very good reasons: like Fiat, it is a very democratic world, it is a very accessible sport for everybody. And so we started to work with the Italian Football Federation to draw all these parallels, between the world of the automobile and the world of football.

Charles Fuster on the playing field…

This proved extremely interesting because all this storytelling proved extremely natural. Also the persons of the federation, who we have presented today is somebody who has worked all his life with football and has an incredible experience.

Top performance is top performance, whether one speaks about cars or people…

These people prepare the future stars of tomorrow. So we arrive at an allegory with a well perfected industrial product and a sports player, and this can be very eloquent…

 HK: indeed, this is very unique in your presentation today… we saw the comments of Roberto Mancini, Italy’s National Team Head Coach and others…

CF: Thank You, it is indeed the work of our whole team!

HK: Can you tell a bit more what is the mission of this sporting version of the 500 X…

CF: Just have a look at its position within the range. The Cinquecento is a typical women’s car. 75 % of the clients are women. This is different with the 500 X, where the buyers are about fifty-fifty between men and women. The 500 X Sport will also be bought by independent women who want to be seen having personality and character.

But this is a car which is targeted to a large public. We will not discriminate. Of course the car has a look which distinguishes it from the others in the range.

HK: Can you tell a bit more about the future electrification of the Fiat models? We think about PHEV…

CF: There will be something new in 2020. There will be an important electrified range at FCA in 2022. That is the only thing I can tell you right now… The first models will be launched in 2020, and this will continue throughout 2021 to 2022. It is the strategy of the group to be present in all forms of electrification. It will also be very important for the fleet market.

HK: We thank you for this interview.

Of course there is (still) more. We will treat you also shortly with further interviews with Danilo Coglianese, Head of Fiat & Abarth Communications, EMEA, and also have a long talk with Alessandro Grosso, Head of Fleet and Business Sales, EMEA, about the European Fleet markets and FCA’s position therein.

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Women behind Cars: Angelica Carapezza

At the presentation of the new Fiat Ducato earlier this summer we met up with some very remarkable people of Fiat Professional, who had brought the new Fiat Ducato project to a pinnacle in the world of commercial vehicles, and also made a splendid presentation of it.

Intrigued as we were with the electric version of this Ducato, a harbinger in the trend towards clean urban mobility also for commercial purposes and bringing goods to our inner cities in an environmentally responsible way, we also directed our attention to the people behind this project, Domenico Gostoli, Head of Fiat Professional Electrification Programs, and Angelica Carapezza, assisting her boss in managing and coordinating the implementation of such electrification programs.

Angelica Carapezza and Domenico Gostoli, the team behind the Ducato Electric project…

We were very intrigued by the way they both worked out and conceived this programme, only to discover when we spoke to Signora Carapezza that she had a long lived passion for automobiles and Fiat, and had participated in many important projects which had marked the history of the Fiat brand and group.

This discovery led us to start up a series where we present you the profiles of remarkable women who play an important role in our automotive world. We start off with an interview here…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

HK: You have already built up quite a long career with Fiat, and were at the heart of quite a few important projects. Can you tell more about this?

AC: I started to work in FCA, more than 30 years ago; at that time it was just Fiat, a domestic company very far from the international giant that is today. 

I started in the Logistics dept, ensuring Spare Parts distribution in Europe, then I passed to Purchasing, where I had the chance to have a key operative role in the “world car project”. Working for the realization of this project that took me for 3 years to Morocco as responsible for purchasing local and nationalized components- , then I came back in Italy. After a short while I was flying again to a new country for another important challenge: Vietnam, as responsible of the Licensee market where a local partner used to assemble CKDs (Completely Knocked Down) parts and components of the world car first and the Doblò thereafter.

After 1 year of exciting experience in Far East Asia, it was time to come back again to the old continent and face a new role: International Business Development. It was the time of great deals among OEMs: General Motors, Suzuki, Ford, Peugeot/Citroen, and many other negotiations which remain in the secret drawers of FCA… this was a great chance for me to be part of the epochal change which the automotive world was making! Time passes and I thought why not capitalize on all this experience and put it to good use in the commercial world? I took the opportunity to join Fiat Professional, first as responsible of Brand Developments (one amongst all: China experience) and then I was focusing my time on electric developments. Always “out of the box”!

HK: You even put up a project in Hanoi, involving a press drive with the new Doblò, this was in July 2003…

 AC: Yes, when I was in Vietnam, I took the chance to expand my professional background: my original assignment was to negotiate, with a local partner, a new licence for local assembly of a Fiat model. It happened that, even under the strong request of the local assembler, my role took a 360° shape: I was requested to figure out and organize the commercial launch of the Doblò (at that time I had no experience in this context), the local Partner gave me full white paper, and that is how the “Trans-Vietnam Road Show” took place.

We organised a press conference and launch ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City first, and then we literally “brought” the launch to the capital, alongside the coast of the country from south to north: a caravan of 13 Doblò’s, driving for 8 days, 2.600km, passing from Nha Trang, Danang, Halog Bay, and finally Hanoi; in the capital I set up a new launch ceremony and was honoured by the presence of Italian Ambassador and Vietnamese Minister of Transports.

36 young Angelica Carapezza heading in 2003 the launch of the Doblo in the Opera Hotel in Hanoi…

I was the only Italian and the only person of Fiat to manage the group of Vietnamese people of the Road Show: my best and most exciting professional experience ever! 

HK: What led you to Fiat, was it the attraction of all the wide creative and professional possibilities which result from working for such a large group with a global reach?

Working in one of the biggest companies of the world has positive and negative sides. You can benefit from the size of the company itself, and collect strong and different experiences which, in a smaller context, would oblige you to change company.

This basically means that after more than 30 years, each day I wake up being conscious that – even today – I’ll learn something more about this extremely complicated world called “automotive”. On the other hand – I speak personally – you develop such an attachment to the Company, feeling as being  truly yours, which makes it impossible to betray it with another one.

I feel FCA as being my family, my personal growth, my house. I have such a sentimental attachment to the Company that it is inconceivable for me to look elsewhere, and this is indeed my emotional boundary.

Angelica Carapezza in 2003 in Hanoi posing with the Italian Amabassador and the Vietnamese Minister of transport…

HK: Coming to the present project, putting the electric Ducato on the rails so to say, can you tell us more about the “bottom up”, client-based approach, focusing  first on building up a database with a specific, detailed study of customers’ real use of their vehicles, which involved a year of data gathering. How do you work together as a team with Domenico Gostoli?

AC: Domenico Gostoli is the most professionally experienced boss I’ve ever had. Working with him means to collect day by day competences and knowledges, thanks also to its vision and background: he collected in his career important roles in engineering, product planning and commercial, which is a quite rare combination in our world, and this makes him really stand “one step ahead”.

For the Ducato Electric, we started to analyse the real life utilization of the vehicles in different usage situations and missions, being conscious that an LCV means much more for our customer than just being a vehicle: it is the source of daily business revenue.

We put the customer in the centre, with his specific daily needs (path, km’s, delivery times, payload and volume request, city centre access, etc) and we conceived a Ducato where the new Electric propulsion enhances the successful modularity of Ducato that made it the #1 among LCVs in Europe (more than 12.000 versions of the same model manufactured in the biggest LCV plant @ Atessa, south Italy!).

Our “bottom up approach” starts from real life usage, and brings a fully tailor made and customized recommendation to customer, with whom we choose the best vehicle configuration fitting his specific needs, which have been subject to a prior analysis.

Fiat Professional electrification does not penalize the payload and volume of the vehicle, takes away the “range fear” thanks to his battery modularity and lets our customers accomplish their daily mission also in Co2 free cities. All our analysis are fully consistent to the epochal change of people behaviours and daily needs: e-commerce means rising delivery speed and the need for our customers to deliver goods, mainly in urban centres.

HK: What would you say/advise to women who want to start a career in the automotive world?  

I would not make a statement between men and women: first of all there must be passion and a daily predisposition to put oneself under questioning, by seeing a new thing, a new role as an opportunity. Disruption is always an opportunity, especially when you face it blindly. 

On the other side there is this daily truth: women carry a heavier burden, if you are also a mother, this may turn into a problem for your career. It is a matter of choices and compromises, always. For a woman much more than for a man, even today.

Each of us has to develop her/his “tailored professional profile”, because each of us has her/his “daily mission”, exactly like a Ducato Electric.

We thank You for this interview.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW explores ultimate performance with E-power…

It had to happen. BMW cultivates pleasure of driving. And this also goes for their E-cars. Even more so, as they have excellent torque and therefore massive pulling power. And what’s more, you can use several motors at once.

So it was only a matter of time that a trial car with superpower is created. Here it is: BMW Group presented its “Power BEV” during its #NEXTGen event in Munich.

Just before we go further, just explain here a bit more on the #NEXTGen event: From 25 to 27 June 2019 the company invites selected international journalists, analysts and further stakeholders to “BMW Group #NEXTGen” at BMW Welt in Munich. With this event, The BMW Group chooses a new direction with regard to how it presents its future technologies, services and products.

But back to the car now. Indeed, BMW explores with this “Versuchswagen” what is technically possible. A BMW 5 Series was taken off the production line, and then fitted with three fifth-generation electric drive units, resulting in a maximum system output in excess of …530 kW/720 hp. This transforms the 5-Series into a supercar: with this power, it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in comfortably under three seconds.

But it is not only about straight line performance, it is also about handling. A true BMW also puts a smile on the driver’s face through corners, and so the engineers got to work on the chassis and suspension.

Separately controlled motors provide unseen agility…

To this end, the chassis and powertrain engineers worked together particularly closely to maximise the car’s performance. Key to its dynamic superb qualities is that the two electric motors at the rear axle are controlled separately. This brings e-torque vectoring into play, which enables maximum drive power to be translated into forward propulsion even in extremely dynamic driving manoeuvres.

Two separate engines in the back…

The result is more effective and precise control than with a limited slip differential, because actively targeted inputs are possible in any driving situation. By contrast, a limited slip differential always reacts to a difference in rotation speed between the driven wheels, and therefore is slower to react.

As said, the drive system comprises three fifth-generation drive units, each of which brings together an electric motor and the associated power electronics and power take-off within a single housing. One is mounted at the front axle and two (a double drive unit) at the rear axle. Another notable aspect of this generation alongside its eye-catching power is that it is entirely free of rare earths. An electric motor of this type will make its series production debut in the BMW iX3. The iX3 will only have one motor, though, rather than three.

A series production car forms the basis…

Experienced test drivers handle the power and extract the possibilities of high performance handling…

As said, a current BMW 5 Series production model serves as the donor car for the Power BEV. Integrating a drive system of this type into a production car represents a serious technical undertaking, but it has been achieved here with absolutely no restriction in passenger compartment space. This makes it far easier to assess this drive concept alongside alternatives.

It has also allowed the engineers to look even more effectively into the possibilities opened up by two separately controllable electric motors at the rear axle with e-torque vectoring.

And that means, in future series-production vehicle projects, that the right technology can be selected for the model at hand. Customers will therefore be provided with the most appropriate technology for their choice of vehicle concept. Wow! Needless to say, we are now looking to the E-future with a very broad smile! Driving pleasure will be certainly part of it!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Pay only for your miles with your Jeep

Time to think of alternative ways about paying for your mobility, if you read this slide…

At the Jeep presentation at the Lago di Garda, we attended a gripping presentation by Marcella Merli, Head of Group Sales & Marketing of FCA Bank. We also had a long conversation with her, about how we use our cars, and how we should have a fresh look at car ownership and think about alternative and clever ways to finance and fund our individual mobility.

This article is also a first in a series where we will present on a regular basis alternative and clever ways of mobility finance schemes.

Marcella Merli, Head of Group Sales & Marketing of FCA Bank, presented with verve the “Jeep Miles” program…

Indeed, she presented here for Leasys, the rental and mobility company of FCA Bank, their “Jeep Miles” program, the new pay-per-use rental solution designed especially for Jeep customers.

Inspired by the “Pay per Use” trend, today increasingly popular with consumers in various sectors, it offers subscribers the possibility to pay for their vehicle only when they are actually using it. “Jeep Miles” is a long-term rental requiring no down payment, that offers a convenient monthly fee, plus a variable cost calculated based on the kilometres actually travelled. The Mopar Connect T-Box, installed on board the vehicle, registers the mileage travelled by the customer. There are no mileage limits, for a real “Pay per Use” experience!

Marcella Merli presented amongst others this typical example, seen here on the photographed slide, of Andrew, an international account manager

Jeep Miles will be available in selected European markets in 2019.

The fixed monthly fee will include the main mobility services, with different formulas. A variable component will then be added on, calculated by applying the rate per kilometre to the mileage actually travelled by the customer. The first 1,000 kilometres will be free of charge.

Jeep customers who, for example, only use the car in specific periods of the year, or are often abroad for work, will find Jeep Miles an ideal solution for their mobility requirements. It will also be suitable for those who mainly use their vehicle in the city, clocking up low annual mileages.

Marcella Merli presented amongst others this typical example, seen here on the photographed slide, of Andrew, an international account manager, single, goes on long international business trips had occasionally uses his Jeep Compass on weekends.

In his scheme, there is a small fixed instalment of 249 Euros, a “light” scheme of 0,09 Euro per km, including Third Party Liability, Road Tax, Road Assistance, the Leasys APP. The 0,18 Euro per km scheme includes further Fire & Theft, Collision Damage Waiver and last but not least Full Maintenance.

Soon, Leasys will also introduce soon a credit card, which like we said, gives you an extra 1,000 miles on your Jeep Miles contract, and enables also to buy with a discount all the Mopar accessories you can think of…  

Tempted? Indeed, think differently about financing your mobility…and enjoy your Jeep driving even more!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We spoke with Chief Designer Klaus Busse, about the Alfa Tonale and the Fiat Centoventi: two stunning concept cars, showing two unique sides of Italian design… part 1.

Klaus Busse talked with us in depth about the Alfa Romeo Tonale…

Our series about the visit to the FCA Centro Stile in Torino starts with an intriguing interview and talk with Klaus Busse, vice president of Design for Fiat, Abarth, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Maserati, offering us interesting insights into the sculptural design philosophy and language of the iconic sporting Milano brand.

Of course this is not all. This in depth talk and interview covers more aspects about the Tonale, and furthermore also the Fiat approach to automotive product design…so we decided to split this interview into a series, focusing in more detail on the various aspects. So stay tuned on these columns for further reports in this series!

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

The original wooden styling sculpture of the legendary Multipla stands proudly in the entrance hall of the Torino based FCA Centro Stile…

Having walked through the impressive entrance hall of the Centro Stile, we started off with a question about how this styling centre is set up.

B:  “It is of course every day a joy for me to walk through the several studios of our Centro here. Every brand has a separate studio, and you met earlier here with Scott Krugger, the head of design for Alfa Romeo. (Note: this will be our next interview in this series). Every brand has their own head of design. We have 200+ individuals working here, from around the world. It is a very international team, we look at ourselves as the “espresso beans”, because as you know, espresso beans also come from around the world, but with the Italian process it creates an Italian iconic drink, and with the Italian process of design, we hopefully, you will agree, we are able to create Italian iconic design, even though the designers are not coming only from Italy, but from around the world.

We went first to the room of Alfa Styling department

Q: We are here seeing today shoulder to shoulder two different cars on our visit: the Tonale and the Centoventi…

B: I can tell you here first a few words about the Tonale itself, and notably also of the Fiat Centoventi. (Note: which we will also discuss later in separate interviews). It is a very rare thing for us to go to a show with two concept cars, and the beautiful thing we were able to do with the Alfa Romeo and the Centoventi, is that we were able to show the two sides of Italian design, the way we see it. So we have in front of us here with the Tonale the classic sculptural beauty of Italian design, and with the Centoventi we have the Italian approach to product design, applied to the car. So you see the two extremes of Italian design in the automotive sphere.

In the Fiat Centro Stile room, we stood eye to eye with the Centoventi… more about it later in this series!

With the Tonale, the challenge was, since it is again an SUV, and we have already an SUV with the Stelvio, to create something that is typical Alfa Romeo, but has nothing to do with the Stelvio in terms of the shapes. The Stelvio is a very muscular car, with emphasis on the wheels and the voluptuous shapes, here on the side you see we have a different construction of the car, we have a completely different front, so the challenge was that with our second entry to the SUV market, we do not create a copy of the big brother, like you see with other companies, who are just adopting a same design and adapt it to different sizes. We wanted to create something completely different with the Tonale.

The horizontal “eyebrow” line is clearly seen here…

Q: Will this car be a trendsetter for the future Alfa design?

The one thing you will not hear me talk about today is the future. I will talk about the present, about the Tonale, but I will not lift the veil more. All I can say is that I think we found something which is a beautiful progression. I saw that my team put the 8C model here, and maybe that allows me to highlight where I see the progression what the team has done here, when we look at the front. The 8C, the 4C, the Stelvio, the Giulia, all of these cars have basically have this hood line, it is a flowing design, and it nicely encompasses the grille. This face was applied to all current generation vehicles.

The muscle lines on the hood converging into the Scudetto, as seen here in the 8C, is now completely given up in the Tonale…

With the Tonale, we completely gave up this kind of interpretation, you still see the muscles of course leading to the Scudetto, but we went to a much more horizontal design. So we went from a vertical design to a horizontal design, and that of course is a completely different construction of the front, and this much I can tell you, we would not do this just for one car…

Klaus Busse dedicated a drawing to your servant… with the horizontal line clearly visible…

Because here, the 8C created a family of cars, and in this case again, it might create a new family of cars…

 As said stay tuned for the next part of this interview, where we will talk in depth about tradition and modernity embodied in today’s Alfa design language…

Hans Knol ten Bensel   

The visit to the Centro Stile of the FCA Group in Turin proved immensely interesting…

We had long and in depth conversations with FCA Group Chief Designer Klaus Busse and his team…

What we saw and heard on our visit to the Torino based Centro Stile was nothing short of absolutely stunning. We had long and in depth conversations with FCA Group head of design Klaus Busse and his team, both from Alfa Romeo and Fiat styling.

The beautiful instrumentation and interior of the Tonale, with Klaus Busse watching in the background…

Needless to say that we are the coming days eager to report on all this extensively, and indeed you can expect to read our findings in several reports…

Alfa DNA styling revived on the drawing boards provides the mould for the new Tonale design…

The next few photos just lift a tip of the veil of the vast material we collected and photographed…

Rewriting democratic mobility and opening many new doors in design: the Centoventi Fiat

We just want to thank here the magnificent efforts of the dynamic PR team of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Belgium, notably Dominique Fontignies, PR & Communication Director and Wim Willems, Press Officer, for sharing the knowledge of these experts and their creations with us.  

Full of revolutionary, practical solutions: the interior of the Centoventi…

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel