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Archive for June, 2018

The Electric Highway.

One of the appeals of the Australian landscape is its huge gaps between the cities, allowing an almost uninterrupted view of the beautiful world we live on. That also means that using a car not powered by diesel or petrol may be limited in its ability to traverse the distances between them.Come the Electric Highway. Founded by the Tesla Owners Club of Australia, TOCA, they took up a joint initiative with the Australian Electric Vehicle Association to literally fill in the gaps. With a smattering of Tesla supercharger and destination charger points mainly spread along points of the east coast and largely between Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, a driver can now drive no more than 200 to 300 kilometres before seeing another charging point. The network is made up of 32 amp three-phase chargers which are about 200km apart on average, with the furthest distance between charge points being 400km. Most are capable of adding 110km of range in 30 minutes.

Tesla itself is looking at another eighteen superchargers around Australia by the end of 2019 which is complemented by the Australian Capital Territory’s decision to install fifty dual Electric Vehicle charging points at government sites in order to reach its zero emissions goal by 2022 for government cars.

Although most states have so far effectively failed to get on the electric car wagon, Queensland has bucked that trend by investing heavily in charger points.In that state, EV drivers can travel from Coolangatta to Cairns, and west from Brisbane to Toowoomba, using the government’s fast charger network, which is also vehicle agnostic. This means that the charger points are able to deal with the various car charging point designs, which does beg the question of why a global standard appears to not have been settled on. The rollout was completed in January of 2018.It’s also worth noting that the Western Australian government owned power company, Synergy, did assist the TOCA initiative. In WA alone, more than 70 charge points were installed in towns and roadhouses on all major roads in the south and east of the state, as well as some remote locations in the north.

The initiative, a team effort by Synergy and the WA branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association, is installing three-phase charge points in towns and roadhouses on all major roads in the south and east of the state, as well as some remote locations in the north.

WA’s regional utility, Horizon Power, also contributed to the roll-out, with installations of 3 phase outlets in the Kimberley area.

“We’re endeavouring to show that there is ‘people power’ behind the drive to EV’s, and hopefully governments can follow,” said Richard McNeall, a TOCA member and coordinator of the Round Australia Project.Currently most charger points are free, however there is a mooted change to this, but not at a huge impost. With pricing yet to be settled upon it’ll be worth looking out for press releases on this matter.

UK car maker Jaguar Land Rover has also announced plans to add a charging network in Australia, ahead of the release of its first EV, the I-PACE all-electric SUV, later this year. JLR Australia says the up to $4 million network would include 150 changing stations, using 100kW DC chargers provided by Jet Charge.

Plug Share is the site to go to to find out where the charge points are located. http://credit-n.ru/zaymi-na-kartu-blog-single.html

BMW's EV Wireless Charging

BMW’s Wireless Charging

The new BMW 5-Series iPerformance models boast some very cool ‘world-first’ technology.  Available factory-fitted with a fully integrated inductive charging facility means that you can arrive home, park over a ground pad (the inductive charging facility/station) and hey-presto your car charges up, ready for your next trip away.

BMW’s Wireless Charging consists of the GroundPad (an inductive charging station), that can be installed either in a garage or outdoors, and the CarPad, which is fixed to the underside of the vehicle will connect to the GroundPad once parked appropriately.  This technology is available as an option on the new BMW 530e iPerformance model.  The GroundPad generates a magnetic field that induces an electric current in the CarPad, which then charges the battery in the car.

BMW’s 530e iPerformance model has the parking systems that help the driver to manoeuvre into the correct parking position over the GroundPad using a WiFi connection between the charging station and the vehicle.  Once the connection has been made, an overhead view of the car and its surroundings then appears in the car’s display screen with coloured lines that help guide the driver into position.  An icon shows up on the screen when the correct parking position is reached for the process of inductive charging.  BMW say the position for parking over the top of the GroundPad isn’t difficult to locate as the position can deviate by up to 7 cm longitudinally and up to 14 cm laterally – so it has plenty of buffering for getting a good connection.  To easy!

We already are becoming familiar with the wireless charging systems inside many new cars from different manufacturers where mobile phones and electric toothbrushes can be wirelessly charged inside the car.  BMW says its wireless charging uses the same inductive charging technology already widely used for supplying power to devices such as these.

BMW has unveiled a wireless charging system that will be available in Germany, followed shortly by the UK, the US, Japan and China.  It’s nice to be able to boast this technology and do away with cords and manual contraptions for charging your hybrid.  Germany and Europe seem to be leading the way with cutting edge EV technology, and this inductive charging system, created by BMW, will set the ball rolling for other manufacturers to follow suit.

I can imagine, like BMW, a world where you just pull up to your car park in the city, and the wireless inductive charging facility that’s set in place, in the road, underneath your EV will charge up your car while you duck into the café for a coffee or buy the necessary office equipment for your business.  This is all pretty cool technology! http://credit-n.ru/microzaymi-blog-single.html

Private Fleet Car Review: 2018 Holden Calais V V6 AWD.

It’s a market that is seemingly on the nose with the Australian buyer yet there really is no truly good reason for it to be so. It’s the large sedan segment, made famous in Oz by the Kingswood, the Falcon, the Valiant. Australia went mid-sized with the VB Commodore in 1978 and 40 years later closed manufacturing, released the ZB Commodore and…..it’s been pretty quiet on the sales charts. Drive around and try and spot one. And yet, to deny it’s a bloody good car is to do yourself a disservice.I had a week with the near top of the range Calais V6. Any V6 Commodore in the ZB range comes with All Wheel Drive (AWD) as standard. Piled on top are 20 inch diameter alloys, Adaptive LED headlights and LED tail lights, a punchy Bose audio sound system via an eight inch touchscreen, powered front seats, a massage function for the driver’s, twin USB outlets for the rear seats, paddle shifts, remote engine start, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay via the understated looking touchscreen interface.The 1700 plus kilo machine is powered by a 3.6L V6 with no turbos. Peak power is 235kW at 6200rpm, peak torque is 381Nm at a highish 5200rpm. It’s this second figure that has some reviewers suggesting it’s sluggish compared to the perky 2.0L turbo petrol four. However, buried in the touchscreen menu is a couple of settings that adjust the car for Auto or Sports. And there’s an appreciable difference between the two.The Calais V6 AWD is a docile machine when required. It’ll simply purr along, unfussed and stress free, with the nine speed auto quietly and unobtrusively slurring through the gears. The exhaust is barely audible and there’s a faint whirr from up front. Crack the whip and the Calais V6 AWD goes from a sleeping kitten to a provoked tiger. There’s a real anger to the noise from the exhaust, a feral whine from the engine bay, no torque steer as the AWD system simply spanks the Calais on the arse and sends it flying forward. 0-100 time is quoted as 6.5 seconds and that’s pretty much what the seat of the pants says too. Overtaking is done with relative ease, and the whole package instills confidence. Along the way it’ll slurp a bit, with 12.1L/100km quoted for the city cycle. AWT bettered that in a mainly suburban drive at 10.6L/100km.

The steering is weighted like Goldilocks’ porridge. It’s just right. There’s no torque steer tug to unsettle, there’s weight enough to feel like you’re connected, and it’s not too light as to feel over assisted. There’s a sense of balance in the force for turns from lock to lock with the front pointing exactly where the mind has told the hands where it wants to go.Ride quality matches the pace, with the Sports suspension ironing out float, niggles, irregularities, with equal disdain. There’s something that only a real anorak would call harshness to the damping otherwise it’s fluid, compliant, comfortable even but leaving you in no doubt it’s in a sporting mode. Naturally there’s plenty of grip from the Continental Sports Contact 6 rubber, with plenty of footprint from the 245/35/20 rubber. And whilst you’re out and about, the nine speed auto is noticeable largely for one thing. That you don’t notice the gear changes. It’s smoother than Elvis crooning Love Me Tender, as slick as James Bond in a tux, and as enjoyable as sipping on your favourite single malt at the end of a hard day at the coalface.The Calais V6 AWD test car came clad in metallic silver paint. There’s more of a benefit in this than first meets the eye, as it emphasises the sleekness of the profile of the 4986mm long machine, the breadth of the lower set nose compared to the VF, the coupe styling at the rear where the hatch and non-powered liftback section (which is kept for the Tourer whereas here it would be a nice addition) reside. There’s a decent 560L cargo space which goes to 1665L with the rear seats down. It also highlights, as a downside in styling, the Ford Cougar line to the tail light section and the somewhat overdone scallop in the doors.There’s an odd design to the driver’s display, with an LCD screen overlaid by two chromed dials, meaning there’s a section of LCD and a section of mechanical dial. Inside the Calais suffers from black upon black. AWT has sandwiched the Calais with the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super and the Toyota Camry V6. Both feature a two tone colour scheme from the options list, with a beige that tended towards bone contrasting with the black otherwise built in. Although the cabin is comfortable and spacious enough, and features a HUD that has switchable information screens, it’s let down by a frankly boring interior colour scheme and the generic GM switch gear. In short, it lacks classiness.Where it doesn’t lack is in safety features. Blind Spot Sensor, Brake Assist, Camera Rear & Side Vision, ESC, Front Collision Mitigation at Low Speed, and Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Alert, Lane Keeping with Active Assist (where the steering gently tugs the tiller to keep you between the whitelines), Parking Distance alerts, Pedestrian Avoidance, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, plus a full suite of airbags sans kneebag. Holden’s offering a seven year warranty to sweeten the deal as well.

At The End Of The Drive.
Priced in the region of $60K plus on road costs the Holden Calais V V6 AWD is a natural successor to the beloved Australian VF Commodore. Yes there’s no ute or V8. Yes there’s now a diesel and turbo four. Yes the lower levels are powered through the front wheels. So what? Genuinely. So what? This car and the rest of the Commodore family are part of the evolution of matters automotive. What this car delivers is what the VF did, and then some. The design may not appeal to everyone and that’s fine. Not everyone thinks Monty Python are funny or that the earth is round. That’s fine, if somewhat odd.

Holden conducted numerous clinics before releasing this car and the consensus was to leave the name where it was. In a way, Commodore has come full circle over forty years, with the naming a clear link. 1978 = VB. 2017 = ZB.

What’s inside the ZB is currently amongst the best tech for the level of car it is. It’s safer, too. However it’s still too generically GM inside and for a Calais to be a Calais it NEEDS to say so. This doesn’t, and therein lies the rub. For a DRIVER it answers the call. For the fashion conscious they’ll look elsewhere. Check it out for yourself here: 2018 Holden Calais V V6 AWD

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2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super Diesel

It’s been a long time “between drinks” for this scribe and Alfa Romeo. In a previous life one of the car brands sold was Alfa Romeo and a highlight was piloting the gorgeous 159.Sadly, Alfa ceased building that slinky temptress. Thankfully, a new car has come along to replace it and it’s the Giulia. With Sophia Loren looks, and Gina Lollobrigida curves, the Giulia’s Italian heritage is like a siren call to the eyeballs. Powered by a torquey diesel the review car came clad in a beautiful blue and certainly gave hints of another Italian beauty. Did someone say Maserati Quattroporte?In Super trim, there’s a choice of petrol or the diesel as tested. The classic 2.2L capacity has 132kW and a welcome 450Nm of twist at 1750 rpm. An eight speed auto with paddle shifters is fitted and will take the 1410 kg (dry) beauty to one hundred in a breath over seven seconds. Alfa Romeo’s official figures for consumption is 4.2L of dinosaur juice per 100 km from the 52L tank. Highway driving range is rated as 3.5L/100km and therefore theoretically capable of Sydney/Melbourne and a good portion of return.Outside the car was clad in metallic Montecarlo Blue. The hawklike LED headlights, matching LED tail lights, the traditional Alfa Romeo Vee grille, are beautifully proportioned and as curvaceous as a supermodel. It’s a beautiful colour and one of 14 possible choices. Inside it was full leather beige and black. Although a worry with two kids it held up just fine. But if you’re a dog owner, some towels would be highly recommended.It’s a push button start and one of the most sensible locations for it is on the steering wheel. One of the most ridiculously non-sensible locations for a bonnet opener is in the foot well above the driver’s left foot. In a right hand car it’s perhaps the silliest place such a device can be placed.Another oddity that the Giulia has is the design of the gear selector. With an Audi-esque design to that section, with Menu button, jog dial, and so on, one would think a trigger on the front of the selector and Park button on top would be ergonomically friendly. Somehow it wasn’t. Too many times whilst wrapping the hand around the lever to select Drive (a pull back to engage, forward for Reverse), the palm would flatten the Park. Then the softness of the trigger didn’t register so thinking it was in drive or Reverse had the diesel revving and no progress in either direction.Thankfully, the interior class overcomes this and in spades. The information screen with high quality DAB audio is not a touchscreen and is part of a beautifully integrated sweep from the passenger side to the driver’s left knee section. There’s a Walnut woodgrain trim there and if it’s not real wood it’s the best imitation of that natural product out there.

The seats are luxurious to the point of bed-like yet are bolstered so there is no lack of side support. There’s adjustable settings electronically for the seats all around including lumbar. They’re heated, naturally, however take far too long to get to a decent temperature unless it’s deliberately calculated to do so to prolong the seat material’s life.Interior specs are high: the Super gets dual zone climate control, rear seat ducting from this, heated steering wheel, a cooling breeze for the dash’s storage, rain sensing wipers, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, and huge paddle shifters. Safety is looked after with Autonomous Emergency Braking and alerts via a musical tone. Reverse camera with guidelines, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Alert, and front & rear sensors are standard. Cargo capacity is 480L for the 4643mm long Giulia.It’s on the road that the Super delivers. In the centre console is a dial with three settings, D N A. A is….uninspiring, N is relatively driveable but to extract the best out of the engine and transmission, D is definitely the driver’s choice. It’s spritely, athletic, energetic, and is what brings the Giulia Super diesel alive. There’s barely a momentary hesitation off the line before the eight speed auto simply launches the car away. Drive in D and then swap back to N or A and the result is instantly noticeable. The revs drop, the shifts slow, and driver’s experience of enjoyment drops away. Leave it in D and enjoy.The Pirelli 225/45 and 245/40 rubber wrap 18 inch alloys and house twin and single pot brakes. These react to a bare brush of the foot on the pedal and haul up the Giulia time and again without fade.Road holding is magic; think of sitting in a bed with each corner moving without affecting the centre. Think holding something that communicates every ripple to the hands yet does so without overwhelming them or becoming tiresome. Think silence and forward motion combining. Think turns that have lesser chassis’ cringing in fear, and grip that is velcro & super glue & limpet in one. Confidence inspiring is a serious understatement. A 2820mm wheelbase helps in stability, as does the double wishbone front and Alfa link rear. However, something else happens with the car’s handling at very low speeds. When maneuvering for street parking, the front end would “scrub”, with the tyres feeling as if they’re were on edge, not flat.Service intervals are 20,000km or twelve months, with a three year/150,000 warranty currently as standard according to the downloadable brochure.At The End Of The Drive.
At the time of writing The Giulia Super had a starting driveaway price of $64,900 plus a complementary three year service package and five year warranty with roadside assistance for the same period. Being the Drive 2017 Car Of The Year means that the Giulia Super is a pretty special machine. Oh, yes indeedy. Quirks aside, and let’s face it, without quirks it wouldn’t be an Alfa, left in D and driven the way a sports saloon should be driven, it appeals deeply.
Find out more here: 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super http://credit-n.ru