The successor to the current 7 Series will offer all-electric luxury. Picture: SUPPLIED
The successor to the current 7 Series will offer all-electric luxury. Picture: SUPPLIED

The next BMW 7 Series will have an electric version, group CEO Oliver Zipse revealed at the company’s annual general meeting held in Munich, Gemany, last week.

The next iteration of the luxury sedan will offer petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid versions as well as an electric vehicle (EV) derivative for the first time, Zipse said.

The new seventh generation 7-Series is expected to arrive in 2022 and the electric version is likely to be dubbed the i7 in line with BMW’s EV naming strategy.

It is expected to have a battery of up to 120kWh of capacity which has a theoretical range of 600km or more, and the power train can deliver up to 537kW of output.

Zipse said in his speech that the BMW Group aims to launch 25 electrified cars across its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands by 2023, more than half of them being full EVs.

The first to be launched recently was the battery-powered Mini Cooper S E, and it will be followed by the X3-based iX3 later this year.

Worldwide demand for electrified cars is growing with improved range and quicker charging times.


VW augments reality

Volkswagen has put augmented reality to work in its US factory. Picture: SUPPLIED
Volkswagen has put augmented reality to work in its US factory. Picture: SUPPLIED

In just the past few years, augmented reality has gone from a science-fiction idea to apps that lets you see how clothes fit, where to put your new home appliance or even to test how well you could have piloted the Apollo lunar lander. Now Volkswagen has put augmented reality to work in its US factory.

As the Chattanooga factory ramps up production of the new Atlas Cross Sport, and lays groundwork for assembling the next generation of Volkswagen electric vehicles planned to begin in 2022, engineers have a new tool using augmented reality goggles to design production lines and help spot potential issues.

The software tool was developed over just six weeks by Volkswagen’s virtual engineering lab in California, based on requests and feedback from technicians in Tennessee. The system helps designers see not just individual parts, but how existing and future equipment could interact in a real environment.

The AR factory goggles give engineers the ability to see how the pieces will fit together in the real world.

“This helps us to make decisions quicker, and spot potential issues sooner,” said Steffan Nunn, VW digital factory specialist in Chattanooga. “As we integrate new models into the existing factory, we need to make sure our virtual design data matches the reality in the plant.”

Some early examples have shown that the system was able to identify pinch points between machinery and parts that weren’t previously visible.


Samsung’s battery breakthrough

Solid-state batteries could provide more range and take up a lot less space in electric cars than current lithium-ion versions. Picture: SUPPLIED
Solid-state batteries could provide more range and take up a lot less space in electric cars than current lithium-ion versions. Picture: SUPPLIED

Samsung, which attracted all the wrong attention for exploding batteries in its Galaxy Note a couple of years ago, has made a battery breakthrough that could extend the range of electric vehicles (EVs).

The Korean firm says it has developed a new type of solid-state battery with a better lifespan and safety.

Solid-state batteries are considered the next big step in EVs as they can offer better range and safety than liquid-type batteries like lithium-ion versions.

Until now they have been difficult to mass produce and have not had the longevity required for cars which require frequent charging at high energy rates.

Samsung says it has developed a prototype solid state battery that could deliver up to 800km on a charge, with a life cycle of over 1,000 charges. Another bonus is that a solid state battery could deliver such performance despite being about half the size of existing lithium-ion units, leading to weight and space saving in electric cars.

Samsung did not say when the technology might be ready for production.


Honda quest postponed

Honda has postponed this year’s Quest True Adventure 2020 motorcycle competition. Picture: SUPPLIED
Honda has postponed this year’s Quest True Adventure 2020 motorcycle competition. Picture: SUPPLIED

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Honda Motor Southern Africa has decided to postpone the Quest True Adventure 2020 motorcycle competition.

The nine-day, 2,500km off-road expedition in the Northern and Western Cape was due to start on April 2.

“To safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the competitors and organisers of this event the management of Honda Motor Southern Africa has decided to postpone Quest True Adventure 2020 until further notice.

Boot camp for Quest 2020 recently took place in Cape Town from March 10-12 2020 where 14 finalists were chosen. The names of the 14 finalists will be released on March 29.

The new date for Quest True Adventure 2020 will be communicated in due course.

For further information visit www.quest-trueadventure.com


Aston Martin DBX shapes up

Aston Martin DBX will get a coupe-shaped stablemate. Picture: SUPPLIED
Aston Martin DBX will get a coupe-shaped stablemate. Picture: SUPPLIED

Like the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe, Aston Martin will be offering a coupe version of its luxury SUV.

Marek Reichman, executive vice-president of Aston Martin, has confirmed that the company’s recently launched DBX will have additional body styles.

Any new designs would be based on the DBX on the same wheelbase, and that there wouldn’t be a smaller SUV introduced to slot in below the DBX, he said.

This would enable the cash-strapped British firm to spend substantially less than by introducing a second SUV line.

The new DBX is the brand’s first SUV and was launched late last year to take on vehicles like the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

The DBX is unmistakably an Aston Martin with its signature DB grille, which harks back to iconic cars like the DB5 favoured by James Bond in the 1960s. It is a large SUV but hides its size well with sleek lines that seem to shrink-wrap around its 5m-long frame.

Aston Martin hopes for it to become the company’s best-selling vehicle and boost its total sales by two thirds, and it has had a good start by already selling out for 2020 and with orders being taken for 2021.