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  • RFID system to start at all toll plazas nationwide soon

    The government says that the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system for toll collection will be implemented at all toll plazas nationwide soon, The Star reports.

    According to works minister Baru Bian, the system will be running sometime in the next couple of years, but will not take three to five years to implement. “Three to five years is too long. But give us time to ensure that it is properly implemented to benefit road users,” Baru said.

    The initial plan by the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) stated that RFID system were supposed to start operating in the third quarter of last year, but Baru pointed out that toll plazas without booths could only be initiated when the RFID system is widely used throughout all highways nationwide.

    The special lane for SmartTag will only be eliminated after the removal of boom gate barriers and toll booths as part of the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) roll-out, probably in the next two years. Baru added that the government will also need to develop standards and guidelines for the highway industry, particularly in the areas of building information modelling, communication protocol, big data analytics as well as strategic and tactical asset management.

    “Communication protocols will ensure seamless integration for machine-to-machine communication. Big data analytics are to help with future planning, while strategic and tactical asset management is to enable optimum asset management and maintenance. In formulating theses standards, we need not reinvent the wheel. We can adopt and adapt those standards that are already available and modify them to suit our needs,” he said.

  • Gov’t lost out on RM4.89 bil in excise duty on locally-assembled vehicles from 2015 to 2017 – AG’s report

    The Auditor-General’s Report 2018 Series 1 has revealed that from 2015 to 2017, the government provided RM4.89 billion worth of excise duty exemptions to locally-assembled (CKD) vehicles, The Edge reports.

    Various excise duty exemption incentives were granted by the government during the period, and included that for state assemblymen, members of Parliament, embassies and the government as well as for the Returning Expert Programme (REP) and Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programmes.

    There were also exemptions given via special approval from the ministry of finance (MoF) and the exemption of excise duties for energy efficient vehicles (EEVs), which was introduced under the National Automotive Policy (NAP) in 2014 to provide incentives for fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric vehicles.

    The report stated that from 2015 to 2017 a total of 73,250 units of CKD vehicles were given excise duty exemptions of up to 100%, amounting to RM4.89 billion. The percentage of exemption listed in the AG’s report was clarified by the MoF in a written response in January this year, in which the ministry explained that while EEVs covered EVs, hybrids and petrol/diesel vehicles, the 100% exemption of import and excise duties were only considered for EVs and hybrids.

    For petrol/diesel vehicles that obtained EEV certification, the level of import/excise duty exemptions were considered based on a cost-benefit analysis and were approved by the ministry after deliberation by the Automotive Business Development Committee (ABDC).

    Three states were sampled in the audit, and these were Pahang, Kedah and Selangor, all of which accomodate vehicle assembly facilities. From that RM4.89 billion worth of total excise duty exemption, the report indicated that the exemption that was approved in these three states amounted to RM4.095 billion, or 83.75% of the total.

    The bulk of the excise duty exemption was for EEVs and fleet management service provider SPANCO’s vehicles, and these totaled RM3.862 billion, or 94.3%, of all approved exemptions during the three-year timeframe.

    It was the opinion of the auditor that the rating system for EEVs by the road transport department (JPJ) – which is based on UN R101 regulations that were not complete, especially in relation to carbon emissions, but which nonetheless allowed a 100% exemption in excise duty to be given – needed to be reviewed.

    Noting that Thailand utilises carbon emission rates as part of regulations for its eco-car programme while also imposing excise duties on eco-car models, the report said that a review will ensure that excise duty exclusions will not affect the collection of state revenue and, concurrently, ensure the success of the NAP.

  • Toyota Supra with M3 engine possible, but unlikely

    BMW’s new S58 3.0 litre twin-turbocharged straight-six petrol engine that’s currently in use for the X3 M and X4 M may soon find its way into a hotter version of the A90 Toyota GR Supra, Autocar reports. The 510-hp unit will be used across the high-performance M range, starting with the M2 Coupe.

    However, in a break from convention, the publication states that it’s possible for the S58 engine to be featured in the Supra as well, although currently there’s no expression of interest from Toyota, BMW M chief Markus Flasch said. If the deal is seen through, it would be the first BMW M engine to be featured in a third-party car since the McLaren F1‘s S70 V12.

    Flasch told Autocar: “We’ve certainly made no offer to supply the engine to Toyota – and no request has been made, as far as I know. But it’s an interesting idea, if unlikely for now. It would be a lot for us to give away, you might say. But I’d never say never.”

    The top-of-the-line Toyota Supra currently uses the B58 3.0 litre straight six engine from which the S58 was developed, although only 10% of parts are common between the two power units. In the Supra, the B58 makes 340 PS at 5,000 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. By comparison, the S58 makes up to 510 hp and 600 Nm of torque, and is said to be easy to package in the Supra.

    Flasch added: “As a rule, we don’t offer BMW M engines to third parties because we consider them such a strength of our cars. I think it would be a hard decision for a lot of the team to accept – particularly with the S58 being so new. Why would we sell it before we had a chance to use it ourselves in all the places we plan to?” But, as he said himself, never say never.

    GALLERY: BMW M S58 3.0 litre inline-six engine

  • Lamborghini Huracan gets the Liberty Walk treatment

    Liberty Walk has been making bodykits for exotic cars for some time now, and it’s latest creation is for those who want their Lamborghini Huracan to look a little more special than others.

    The kit is called the Silhouette Works GT, and it includes a new front bumper and splitter, which together with the optional air suspension, bring the car right down to the ground.

    Flared wheel arches and skirts are also part of the modification, with those at the front featuring exit louvres, while the vented bonnet is akin to those on racing cars. Unlike other kits, the exposed rivets aren’t seen on the Huracan-specific package for a more seamless look.

    However, the most dramatic view is from the rear, where you’ll find a Veneno-esque setup that comprises a large rear wing and accompanying shark fin that originates from the engine cover. Further down, there’s a complex diffuser that helps to showcase the enlarged exhaust pipes.

    The company will present its product as this year’s SEMA Show later in November, and has already begun order taking in Japan. Prices start at 3,942,000 yen (RM150,206) for body-coloured finish using fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), while a mixture of the material with dry carbon-fibre will set you back 4,968,000 yen (RM189,301). The kit in fully dry carbon-fibre costs 5,994,000 yen (RM228,396).

  • GoCar Subscription – no downpayment, insurance and maintenance; RM1,600 monthly fee for Nissan Almera

    GoCar Malaysia has announced its new car subscription service, offering vehicular ownership experience without committing to purchases that typically involve hefty downpayment and insurance.

    What’s more, GoCar Subscription gives you the option to cancel your subscription as and when you desire, so one will not be tied to a multi-year car lease. A refundable deposit of RM2,500 will also be charged to your account at the start of your subscription.

    For example, the company is offering vehicles such as the Nissan Almera for RM1,600 a month, and the Renault Captur for RM2,500 a month. Keep in mind that the monthly fee includes the extras, such as insurance, road tax, maintenance, mileage and roadside assistance.

    As part the launch programme, GoCar is offering 50% off your first month (for GoCar members only, comes with a three-month commitment) when you sign up for GoCar Subscription between July 10, 2019 and October 9, 2019.

    Those who want the flexibility to cancel your subscription at any given time, you can opt for the monthly subscription option. Interestingly, GoCar also allows two additional drivers to be bound to a car, but they must be GoCar members and be present during the sign-up process. What do you think of this?

  • SPYSHOTS: Next BMW 4 Series coupe seen in public

    The next-generation BMW 4 Series has already been photographed in public, and we know that the open-air version of the two-door model will go back to a fabric folding roof construction. The fixed roof coupe has eluded our attention, until now.

    Both this and the 4 Series convertible spotted earlier will draw heavily from the G20 3 Series which is built from Cluster Architecture (CLAR) underpinnings, and as such will have plenty in common with the famous sedan. The coupe exterior seen here will certain have lots to share with the convertible, which it should just about mirror from the front end up to the A-pillars.

    The rear end of the next 4 Series also reveals a design cue likely for both fixed-roof and convertible versions – the tail lamp cluster on the unit seen here partially reveals a character line that is curved, compared to the straight-lined example on the G20 3 Series.

    Here, the 4 Series coupe roofline also appears to develop from the current model in not being too pronounced with the three-box outline, flowing smoothly from the roof and rear windscreen towards the boot. The rear bumper on this coupe test mule appears similar to that seen on 4 Series convertible development units, where the one-a-side tailpipe arrangement will no longer distinguish four-cylinder models from six-pots.

    Under the skin, the forthcoming 4 Series coupe (and convertible, by extension) is expected to share most, if not all of the powertrain variants on offer with the 3 Series; this could possibly include a plug-in hybrid option as well. Petrol engines should include the 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo in at least two states of tune (184 hp/300 Nm and 258 hp/400 Nm), while a possible ‘M440i’ variant could use the 374 hp/500 Nm straight six, with all-wheel-drive. Certainly, the next-generation M4 will boast of even more potent output figures.

    We’ve also seen the interior of the forthcoming G22 4 Series convertible, which has been photographed to be based on the dashboard architecture of the G20 3 Series; this will most likely be adopted for the coupe in its entirety. Instrumentation, as with most of its latest family members, will be via a dual widescreen digital display setup, with steering wheel designs likely to comprise both standard and M Sport versions. More information will be sure to follow, though for now, its debut is expected to be sometime next year.

    GALLERY: G22 BMW 4 Series Convertible spyshots

  • Proton R3 takes podium sweep at MCS 2019 – meet the terrific trio, 200-hp Saga, Iriz and Suprima S race cars

    Over the weekend at the Malaysia Championship Series 2019, Proton R3 celebrated one of its most successful outing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). The team made a clean podium sweep in Race 2 of the Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) category – Fariqe Hairuman and Syafiq Ali finished first in their Proton Iriz, Mitchell Cheah in second with the Proton Suprima S, and James Veerapen in third with the Proton Saga.

    Mitchell also bagged first place in Race 1 of the same category. The prodigal 21-year-old, who is a fresh member of the Proton R3 team, also races with Volkswagen Team Oettinger in the ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship.

    Prior to the race, we were given an exclusive tour of the pit, a taxi ride in the Suprima S R3, plus the opportunity to meet the drivers and their weapons of choice. The trio comprise of the Saga R3, Iriz R3 and Suprima S R3, all of which share the same S4PH 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated engine.

    Before that, it’s worth noting that MTC regulations stipulate that participating race cars must be built based on production cars with no less than four seats, runs on the factory engine (but can be modified), and with a naturally-aspirated engine with capacity between 1,401 cc to 1,600 cc.

    However, the R3 race cars have been completely stripped to bring weight down to just under 1,100 kg. Visible mods include a custom-made exhaust system and air intake, and the beefed up 1.6 litre engine has been upgraded to produce roughly 200 horsepower. That’s nearly twice the output of the standard CamPro engine, mind you.

    The engine, Proton R3 says, is designed to withstand the stresses (it revs up to 8,000 rpm!) involved in endurance racing such as the Sepang 1,000 km Endurance Race. A five-speed manual transmission, limited slip differential, and race-bred Motec M800 engine control unit (ECU) are fitted as well.

    Other upgrades include a six-point roll cage, Recaro TS-G bucket seats with five-point Beltnick harness, Momo steering wheel, Willwood pedal box, 60-litre ATL fuel tank, as well as a Dry-Break quick refuel system. Speaking of which, the R3 cars run on standard RON 97 fuel instead of racing fuel.

    For suspension, the standard factory configuration is retained – all three cars use McPherson struts up front. For the rear, the Iriz and Saga utilise the regular torsion beam setup, while the Suprima S gets the multi-link setup. Of course, this is as per MTC regulations, although the shocks are upgraded to high-performance Ohlins TTX units.

    Interestingly, the Iriz and Saga R3 both have negative cambers, and this is achieved by using shims installed between the suspension and wheel hub. In terms of braking, the front uses Alcon 294 mm ventilated rotors with four-piston calipers, while the rear gets 295 mm discs with two-piston calipers. These reside within original Proton R3 15-inch wheels, shod with 195/50 Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tyres.

    We know what you must be thinking – wouldn’t it be great if Proton introduced some version of a souped-up R3 model again? Well, according to Proton R3 team principal Gary Lee, his division works very closely with Proton’s R&D department, and any special edition, performance-oriented model is possible if the management sees fit.

    In fact, Geely admits that Proton is one of the most experienced motorsports outfits in the Group, and that is no small compliment. Currently, it’s unclear what Geely plans to do with Proton R3, but the China-based automaker is keeping close tabs on its progress. For now, possibilities are limited as Proton remains focused on recovery.

    The takeaway is this. We now know that the Proton Race Rally Research division is alive, well and kicking. With Geely keenly observing, Proton R3’s future certainly seems promising, don’t you think?

  • Volkswagen and Ford extended partnership detailed

    Following the announcement of an extended partnership between Volkswagen and Ford a few days ago, more details about the deal have surfaced on the areas both carmakers will work together on.

    One of the main talking points is Ford’s use of Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) to design and build at least one fully electric vehicle for European customers by 2023. The Blue Oval is expecting to deliver more than 600,000 MEB-based vehicles in Europe over six years, and is already considering a second EV to support this effort.

    The use of the MEB architecture is part of Ford’s USD11.5 billion investment in EVs worldwide, allowing it to meet the e-mobility needs of European customers, as well as the regulations stipulated in the Paris 2050 Agreement.

    Aside from the platform sharing initiative, Volkswagen will also invest in Ford’s autonomous vehicle arm Argo AI, which is committed to deliver SAE Level 4-capable self-driving systems (SDS) for ride sharing and goods delivery in urban areas.

    The deal will see Volkswagen invest USD2.6 billion in Argo AI by providing USD1 billion in cash, and contributing its USD1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving company, or AID, (wholly owned subsidiary of Audi AG), which will be absorbed by Argo AI.

    The transaction will also see Volkswagen purchase Argo AI shares from Ford for USD500 million over three years, while Ford will invest the remaining USD600 million of its previous USD1 billion injection in Argo AI. After the deal is concluded, Argo AI’s post-money valuation will be over USD7 billion.

    AID’s current base in Munich will therefore be Argo AI’s first engineering centre in Europe, and its fifth globally after its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dearborn, Michigan, Cranbury, New Jersey, and Palo Alto, California.

    Last but not least, Volkswagen and Ford remain committed to jointly develop commercial vans and pick-ups for key global markets. For pick-ups, Ford will engineer a medium-sized vehicle for customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South America, as early as 2022.

    Meanwhile, both companies will work on larger commercial vans for European customers, also starting in 2022, with Volkswagen also developing a city van for sale in Europe and other select markets.

  • 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M revealed

    Set to go on sale next year are the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 and Yamaha YZF-R1M superbikes, the latest iteration of Yamaha’s flagship motorcycle since the introduction of the original YZF-R1 back in 1998. Across, broadly, three generations of the YZF-R1, which saw the superbike go from the 150 hp and 20-valve inline-four of the first generation to the 16 titanium valves and 200 hp of the current model, the YZF-R1 has built a loyal following in Malaysia.

    For the current model, introduced in 2015, the YZF-R1 came with a suite of riding aids and electronics, something we put to good use during our review of the Yamaha YZF-R1M. For 2020, the YZF-R1 comes with the 998 cc Crossplane 4 engine with its staggered 270-180-90-180 firing sequence and puts out 200 PS at 13,000 rpm with a claimed linear torque curve.

    The cylinder head and intake layout has been redesigned with the throttle bodies moved closer to the combustion chambers. The new 10-hole Bosch injectors are now positioned above the 45 mm throttle bodies for a direct path to the chambers and a wider fuel spray angle of 21.5-degrees improves combustion efficiency.

    Other improvements include changes to the rocker arms and cam profile and the 2020 YZF-R1 is said to be 5% more aerodynamic with bodywork inspired by the YZR-M1 MotoGP race bike. Suspension has been similarly updated with the 43 mm diameter Kayaba forks on the YZF-R1 modified to give improved rider feedback.

    Braking control on the YZF-R1 now allows riders to select one of two levels with BC1 giving a fixed ABS response while BC2 varies ABS sensitivity depending on lean angle. BC2 increases sensitivity and intervention as speed and lean angle increase for more cornering control.

    This is combined with three levels of engine braking, launch control, new APSG ride-by-wire throttle and revised steering damper settings. There are six power modes, traction and slide control and quickshifter, all accessible the TFT-LCD instrument panel and the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 will be available from September 2019 though there is no word if it will be officially imported into Malaysia by distributors Hong Leong Yamaha Motor.

    For the YZF-R1M, its electronic suspension, by Ohlins, is upgraded with Ohlin ERS NPX upside forks while the rear monoshock comes with a modified preload setting. Carbon-fibre is used to for the YZF-R1M’s bodywork, from the fairing, fender to the lightweight tail piece along with a magnesium rear sub-frame.

    Purchase of the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1M is by online reservation and applications will be taken from July 25, 2019. Purchasers of the 2020 YZF-R1M will also be offered technical support and advice and the chance to attend the Yamaha Racing Experience in Europe.

  • Lexus to show electric concept at Tokyo Motor Show

    The biennial Tokyo Motor Show returns this year, and Lexus apparently has something big in store for the event. According to Motor1, the Japanese premium brand will unveil an electric vehicle concept at the show in October, a plan it revealed at a recent media event in Costa Rica.

    Little is known about the car itself, but it will reportedly take the form of a small hatchback with a “radical” design language. One detail that is known is that Lexus’ already massive spindle grille will be enlarged still further, with the online publication saying that it “dominates the front fascia” and stretches all the way to the windscreen – which should put BMW’s cartoonish new plus-size grilles to shame.

    Technical details are still under wraps, but the car could utilise Toyota’s upcoming dedicated electric vehicle architecture, developed in conjunction with Subaru. The parent company already confirmed that a Lexus EV, based on this e-TNGA platform, was in the works, so this show car could very well presage it.

    This wouldn’t be the first time Lexus is showcasing a small electric vehicle – the company debuted the LF-SA city car concept in Geneva way back in 2015, with a similarly outlandish design.

    GALLERY: Lexus LF-SA Concept at Geneva 2015


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Last Updated 06 Jul 2019


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