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MOTOR&SPORTS | From the GAC Empow to the Lasa Niva Bronto, the cheap all-terrain

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Javier Lacarra

Hybrid and electric technology is taking giant steps and its use at the service of professionals and travelers is growing exponentially. Among the curiosities you can find the tree house with wheels and the history of the four-stroke engine. Spectacular Ducati's electric bike, the skid control system or the start of the Montecarlo Rally that opens the season and the new era of rallies in the Hybrid World Championship.

GAC EMPOW. MIX OF DESIGNS.

Almost four years ago, during the 2019 Detroit Motor Show, some models from Guangzhau Automobile Group (GAC), a curious Chinese automobile manufacturer, were seen. One of those models is the GAC Empow. It is a sedan with a sporty appearance. Beyond this consideration, it is worth noting the integration of design features from other well-known brands.

There is no clear reference to a single vehicle, although the inspiration has not come from the designers of the brand, but from other cars on the market. Under the hood is the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It produces 180 hp and 270 Nm of maximum torque, and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. This power and gear ratio allows you to accelerate from zero to one hundred in a more than reasonable seven seconds.

LASA NIVA BRONTO. THE “CHEAP” ALL-TERRAIN

It is the most luxurious version of the Russian off-road brand. Although the push of electric cars is unstoppable, there are models that attract the attention of drivers. The Lada Niva is a model to take into account, both for the Camper preparations that are based on this model, and for its very useful off-road facet in all fields. Without a doubt, the price is its main claim asset.

In Spain, as a second-hand car, since it is not sold new. And in its local market, Russia, with a starting price at dealers around 7,500 euros. However, there are always those who are looking for an extra luxury. And in that sense, the Lada Niva Bronto is in charge of satisfying the most connoisseurs of the Russian TT. Its arrival at dealerships in that country has been an event and, more so for its price. 917,900 rubles, the equivalent of about 11,200 euros.

XPENG G9. THE CHINESE ELITE FOR THE WORLD.

Xpeng debuted at the Guanzhou Motor Show with this large electric SUV armed with the brand's latest technology and design and safety standards that are conquering European markets. Xpeng is one of the brands with the most projection in China, and one that has also made it clear on more than one occasion its intention to jump to other markets such as Europe. For this, it is creating models of the most interesting technology and value for money. In this case, there is the Xpeng G9 and it is designed from the beginning as a model that meets the highest standards of markets around the world at a technological, design and safety level. The example of this commitment to creating a global model and the fact that it meets the highest demands of the famous Euro NCAP five-star system.

Elegant with a large SUV format, it boasts technology revealing its LiDAR sensors located under the headlights, which is accompanied by aerodynamic wheels and a panoramic roof, while at its rear a fine line of LEDs stands out that give it modernity. Under its body, the G9 hides a new generation architecture called X-EEA 3.0 that acts as a base to offer the latest generation of technology and improves connectivity and constant updating via OTA. A base accompanied by the XPILOT 4.0 system, the latest version of semi-autonomous driving that works together with LiDAR sensors, an eight million pixel front binocular camera and 2.9 million pixel side cameras that offer advanced driving in any situation from its start to the parking manoeuvre.

NURO R2. THE SELF-EMPLOYED ELECTRICITY FOR DELIVERY.

The Nuro R2 is presented in its third generation with slight changes. The state of California has granted all the permits for the start of its work and it will begin in the coming months, together with its mass production. The market for electric delivery vehicles moves and grows at great speed, mainly thanks to relevant firms in the sector itself. In this case it is not an electric van to use but rather a completely new vehicle in every way.

It is called Nuro R2 and already has a large number of confirmed orders; and no, it is not a mere project for the future, since this vehicle is an absolute reality fully functional today. It is in charge of carrying out the so-called “last mile” orders, that is, the last section that separates the distributor from the end customer. One of the remarkable aspects of the R2 is that it carries out this work completely autonomously and one hundred percent electrically.

MOTOR&SPORT | Del GAC Empow al Lasa Niva Bronto, el todo terreno barato

RENAULT LOOKS FOR SOUND FOR ITS ELECTRICAL.

Electric and hybrid cars are required to make a sound at low revs to alert passers-by. This is how Renault looks for yours. The arrival of these vehicles in the cities requires a process of adaptation, although it seems that people's reluctance to adapt and the fast pace of the city have condemned electric vehicles to make noise. Renault is already working on that sound in a process that, far from being trivial or random, will lead to a new defining characteristic of electric cars, its sound. Renault approached this process with some questions.

These unknowns had to lead to a united and defining sound, a process that he entrusted to the Acoustic/Music Research and Coordination Institute (Icram), a Renault partner. Thanks to this collaboration, the sounds of cars such as the Mégane E-Tech Electric and the R5 Prototype have already come out. The result has been the most curious, a job that has involved professionals and experts from all kinds of fields and areas to carry out the work.

DMV. THE FIRST TRAIN AND BUS VEHICLE.

Versatility offers great possibilities. A vehicle that can be a train and a bus is the creation called DMV. A simple name to describe this multipurpose hybrid defined as the world's first dual-mode vehicle. Its debut took place in the city of Kaiyo, in the Japanese prefecture of Tokushima, operating both on asphalt and on train rails.

Operated by Asa Coazt Railway, it is a great milestone both for the company and for the area where it starts its activity, which has been waiting for this moment for ten years. The Japanese DMV looks like a minibus and is equipped with normal tires to circulate on public roads. However, the mutation occurs when some steel wheels descend from their underbody, ready to circulate on the railway tracks. The change only takes fifteen seconds, during which a musical performance is played inside the vehicle to make the moment more special. And the 21 passengers will be entertained by this show. It is powered by diesel fuel, the bus-train reaches 100 km/h on asphalt and up to 60 km/h when it works as a train.

INDIGO FLOW AND FLOW PLUS. FUTURE SOLUTIONS FOR TOURISM.

Indigo unveils Flow and Flow plus electric vehicles for ridesharing and delivery at CES 2022. Indigo Technologies, an automotive OEM, offers a series of new smooth, roomy and affordable electric vehicles (EVs) with two designs aimed at the ride-sharing and delivery market at Consumer Electronics in Las Vegas. Indigo's innovative robotic wheels enable new types of electric vehicles that ride significantly smoother, are roomier and operate at lower cost than any other electric vehicle in its class.

HONDA RIDING ASSIST. SYSTEM TO AVOID THE MOTORCYCLE FALLING.

This system, capable of automatically balancing the motorcycle, allows it to always be kept raised without having to put your feet on the ground or use the kickstand. In the search for balance to have the motorcycle on its feet, something that is not complicated at all on the move but not so much when stopped at a traffic light or when looking for a place to park it.

However, for years Honda has been developing an interesting technology to improve the stability of its motorcycles called Riding Assist, which for practical purposes allows the motorcycle to be kept upright even without the need for the rider to be mounted or for a kickstand. or easel.

KTM RC 390. SPORTS FOR THE A2 CARD.

KTM is seeking the title of Supersport 300 and at the same time intends to put on the market the lightest and most effective sports car for the A2 license, and all this materializes in its new RC 390 that changes much beyond its new aesthetics. This motorcycle is somewhat particular since it is the only single-cylinder in its segment dominated by two-cylinder motorcycles.

KTM proposes an alternative in which lightness is one of its determining factors. It weighs 164 Kg, but its compactness does the rest, especially considering the declared power figure with magnificent potential. For this year, the Austrian firm has decided to make the leap to the Supersport 300 World Championship. In fact, this season it will offer some technical support to teams, something that transcends its results. The changes in the 2022 version have an important influence on its handling on the street, but are more decisive on the circuits.

BSA GOLDEN STAR. CUTTING WAY.

After the purchase of BSA in 2017 by the Indian Mahindra Group, it was a matter of time before the brand rose from the ashes with a new bike to the satisfaction of the classics. This year the first model in forty years arrives: the new BSA Gold Star, a 652 cc single-cylinder motorcycle that, with a classic aesthetic, wants to return to the top of the market. With retro aesthetics, the one baptized as Gold Star is located in the medium displacement segment and delivers 45 CV of power at six thousand revolutions. It will have a contained price and a simple mechanics. In any case, there is still some time to have more data. The first units will not arrive until the spring of this year.

DUCATI TK-01RR. THE RADICAL ENDURO BIKE.

Ducati presents its new electric enduro bike. It's called the Ducati TK-01RR and it comes with enough weight to effectively tackle any type of route. Its price stands at 6,990 euros. The Ducati range of electric bikes is more than developed, with two models to which is added the TK-01RR, an off-road electric bike with which to practice descents and extreme tours. According to the Italian manufacturer, it is designed with the aim of making every moment of your riding exciting and allows the cyclist to experience off-road cycling in its new expression, even on the most inaccessible routes, thanks to its design and specific components. Shimano has equipped the eclectic Italian bike, the famous STEPS EP8 group gives the Ducati a torque of 85 Nm, and although Ducati does not reveal its power, it must not exceed the 250W imposed by the European Community regulations. The bike takes a battery pack that is integrated into the lower tube of the frame, supplied by Shimano, with a capacity of 633 Wh, giving the bike a range of at least 80 km in real circumstances.

CURIOSITIES.

A FIR TREE OVER 400 YEARS OLD FOR A HOUSE ON WHEELS.

The Douglas For Log, literally translatable as "Douglas Fir Log", born in the roaring twenties, this small mobile home that moved from end to end on the roads of the United States was a truck chassis and was made with a log behind the cabin. It is a motorhome made entirely of Douglas fir. As such, the trunk was a well-endowed tree that the American company had hollowed out to make into a mobile home. Built for a married couple in Aberrdeen, Washington, the RV made from the tree sat on the frame of a three-ton 1920 Dodge Brothers truck. And certainly all the comforts of home, but on the road.

HISTORY.

THE FOUR-STROKE ENGINE.

The Otto engine was the first four-stroke internal combustion engine. Devised in 1876 by the German engineer Nicolaus Otto (1832-1891), it marked the beginning of truly operational internal combustion engines. The original design was a one-cylinder device with a large flywheel, mounted on a fixed base, and capable of running on both gas and later gasoline. The idea that made these engines efficient machines was to use every other cycle of cylinder motion to compress the air-fuel mixture inside it before starting ignition (known as the Otto Cycle). This revolutionary conception of the engine allowed to substantially increase the performance of the previous engines. Like the one made a few years earlier by the Belgian engineer Lenoir. The basic mechanical elements were no more complex than those of a steam engine of the time.

CLASSICS.

RENAULT ESTAFETTE.

The virtues of the Renault were well known in their own market, where the introduction of the Estafette version meant once again promoting the made in France, for their own consumption. Conceived for loading and easy handling in the city.

Designed to supply goods from one place to another, with the loading point at a low height from the ground and good handling, they would make it one of the most charismatic transport vehicles, even the French police had Estafette in their fleet. It was built in different versions: short, long and elevated, in addition to the standard and Luxe minibus version with capacity for eight passengers. The first model was presented in 1959 with 845 cc Dauphine mechanics with a payload of 600 Kg.

MECHANICS.

LAUNCH CONTROL.

The Launch control, English term that means "launch control" is an automatic system that allows the vehicle to leave at high speed without losing traction. This innovative system has its origin in the world of competition, like much of the current innovations in automobiles. In the competition of the past, professional drivers had to master the launch technique at the start of the race. With the arrival of new technologies, especially electronic ones, a system capable of carrying out this automatic and controlled action was developed without the driver having to worry about anything. The Launch Control system is a system that depends on others to be able to install itself. It can be said that it is a modification of the ECU software. There are different ways of activation depending on the car model. In some cases, the vehicle has paddles that have to be raised at the same time for a few seconds to activate it. In other more complex situations, the driver must activate the car's sport mode manually, deactivate traction control and hit the brakes. In the case of automatic cars, the gearbox has to be changed manually. Once the Launch Control system is activated, the driver can step on the accelerator fully without wheel slippage and loss of grip on the asphalt.

COMPETITION.

RALLY MONTECARLO 2022. THE NEW GENERATION WRC1 WORLD CUP.

Monte Carlo is once again the start of the World Rally Championship. It is made up of seventeen special stages spread over four days and will feature the two most awarded drivers in the WRC: Ogier and Loeb present at the premiere of the new hybrid Rally1s. Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford will be the contenders for victory in Monte Carlo and the new era of hybridization of the current world championship rallies. On the dates in which the pilots will find different conditions in the sections. From dry to wet asphalt, with ice or snow that can coincide in the same special, putting the drivers and teams to the test with the difficult choice of the most appropriate tires for each special stage. The event is organized by the Monaco Automobile Club, whose service park has this time moved from Gab to the Principality of Monaco. 17 stages await the drivers spread over four days of competition, including a total of 296.03 km timed and another 1,215.44 km of link. Each driver will have eighty tires of different compounds and the special studded ones, of which he will be able to use a total of 38 units throughout the rally.

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