Integrated phone technology is the big theme at this year’s Geneva Motor Show with carmakers Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari all getting in on the act. A new system by Apple – named CarPlay – lets drivers access phone applications on the road.
Ferrari is using the system in its new FF model, as is Volvo, in its XC90 SUV. For now, Mercedes has not said which models will get CarPlay, but expects both its S- and C-Class ranges to be compatible.
A nice idea, though there are limits.
Auto industry analyst Anna Buettner from IHS Automotive explained: “What it really allows you to do is render what you have on your phone on your in-vehicle screen. For sure it’s going to be [things like] your Apple Maps, for navigation, phone functions, music functions. When it comes to social networking apps, they’re going to limit it. They’re not going to allow you to have full access to Facebook like you have it on your phone. They’re gonna probably reduce it to two-liners, that type of thing.”
Rolls-Royce has also incorporated driver assisted technology into its new 2015 Ghost Series. At 230,000 euros, luxury doesn’t come cheap, but at least it is a little easier to drive.
Rolls-Royce’s Robert Kilty called it “an evolutionary design” with a number of new technologies: “One of those is satellite-aided transmission. It’s a technology which allows the car to use the navigation system within the car, plus the GPS information, to predict the future, to see around the corner. It means the car is always in the perfect gear for the upcoming road.”
Infiniti’s Q50 Eau Rouge concept also features its own ‘InTouch technology’ with navigation and smartphone applications.
Away from apps, Toyota’s new FV2 has completely done away with the need for a steering wheel. Instead, drivers operate the vehicle through body movement. While not exactly new technology the fact there is no wheel is certainly different.
French custom car and motorcycle makers Lazareth have also unveiled their latest creation – the Wazuma GT. Under the bonnet is a 4-litre V8 engine by Jaguar. Legally, riders do not have to wear a helmet, but with that kind of power some may want to.
“Of course people are very surprised because it’s an unusual category, which is three wheels. So it’s neither a car nor a motorbike, it’s a three-wheeler. It’s recognised in Europe as a three-wheel vehicle,” said car and motorbike designer, Ludovic Lazareth.
Elsewhere, Nissan’s ‘BladeGlider’, has been another of the show’s other standout concepts. Electrically powered, the cars twin motors produce zero emissions. Inside the cockpit, the driver is positioned in front of the two passenger seats for better vision. Nissan say the seating distribution also evens out tyre wear.
Volkswagen unveiled the XL1, claiming it is the most fuel-efficient car on the planet. The German auto-maker says the vehicle’s diesel engine can do just over 300 miles on one gallon – a new benchmark it claims. It is also no slouch, going from around 0 to 60 miles per hour in 11.9 seconds, even if the top speed has been limited to 99 mph.
If small and green is your thing, then for about 8,000 euros, you could be driving the Fulu Meteor E.T. At only 2.25 metres long the car’s Chinese manufacturers say it is the smallest electric vehicle on the market, and it is capable of reaching speeds of 80 kilometres per hour.