Highlights From This Week's CES 2019: Bell Unveils Flying Air Taxi Concept that Might Become a Flying Uber, World Premier of the Electric Mercedes Benz EQC
Bell Unveils Flying Air Taxi Concept at CES that Might Become a Flying Uber
LAS VEGAS — While the auto industry is still firmly planted on the ground, aviation company Bell along with ride-hailing giant Uber, have joined together in unveiling the Bell Nexus flying taxi, which is planned for Uber's futuristic flying taxi service.
The Nexus on display at CES is just a prototype and does not actually fly, but it does offer a good look at what traveling in one might be like. The Nexus was one of the most popular vehicles on display in Las Vegas this week, judging by the long lines to climb onboard and take a look.
Bell Nexus uses hybrid-electric propulsion for efficient air travel. Bell currently makes both commercial and military aircraft and has recently concentrated its efforts on developing VTOL ( vertical take-off and landing) aircraft like the Nexus, which may one day pick up Uber passengers directly from urban rooftops.
Bell is partner in Uber Elevate, which is Uber's effort to enable shared, multimodal air transportation between suburbs, cities, and ultimately within cities by 2023. Uber is working with its Elevate Network partners to launch fleets of small, electric VTOL aircraft in Dallas, Los Angeles, and a soon to-be-announced third international market.
The Bell Nexus
Powered by hybrid-electric propulsion, the Nexus will be much quieter than a traditional helicopter. The 6500-pound aircraft is powered by six, 8-foot diameter fans that allow the Nexus to take off vertically. Once in the air, the fans rotate 90 degrees, functioning like a traditional airplane propellers. To land the fans rotate back to a horizontal position for a gentle touchdown.
Nexus designed the aircraft to fit on a standard 40-foot by 40-foot landing pad, so cities won't have to construct new infrastructure to accommodate the flying taxis.
Although Uber and Bell have bold plans to launch a fleet of air taxis, current regulations don't allow them to operate just yet. Bell is working with the FAA to develop a set of regulations to allow these vehicles to operate in dense urban areas.
World Premier of the All-Electric Mercedes Benz EQC
Luxury automaker Mercedes Benz offered the world's first look at the Mercedes Benz, EQC, its first fully-electric SUV at CES this week. Mercedes joins a growing number of automakers introducing battery-powered models, including Audi's e-tron and the Jaguar I-Pace.
The new EQC is the first vehicle produced under the automaker's technology brand "EQ". It is also the first in what will be a growing family of all-electric vehicles from Mercedes.
According to Mercedes, the EQC showcases a new level of comfort, performance, design, intelligence and technology that is expected from the luxury German brand.
The EQC comes equipped with the completely new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) Voice Control multimedia system based on artificial intelligence. The MBUX media system includes a digital widescreen display with 10.25" instrument cluster and 10.25" media display.
The interior of the Mercedes Benz EQC
The MBUX system includes voice control which responds to the driver´s natural, conversational language. The AI-based system helps to govern the car´s functions and learns over time. The EQC includes additional features to help manage the vehicle´s charge status, energy flow and range.
The EQC is equipped with an 80 kWh lithium ion battery and standard DC fast charging capable of charging the SUV's battery in 40-minutes. The asynchronous electric motors produce 402 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque, reaching 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
The EQC will be available at dealers in the fall of 2019.
BYTON Reveals the Panoramic Display of the M-Byte
BYTON's Shared Experience Display
Chinese electric vehicle startup BYTON, which is often referred to as the Tesla of China, is developing one of the most unique and intelligent electric vehicles. The M-BYTE includes an panoramic HD display that stretches across the entire dashboard. People finally got to see it up close at CES, where BYTON revealed the vehicle's interior it for the first time.
BYTON calls it a "Shared Experience Display" and it allows the sharing on content among passengers. The M-BYTE will include a facial recognition for the driver, which is used to load his or her's personalized settings as they enter the vehicle. The concept car also supports gesture control and voice control based on Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant.
BYTON is looking to redefine mobility with the M-BYTE offering a luxurious interior space that is personalized for each driver.
The M-BYTE will be will initially launched in China next year before moving to Europe and eventually the U.S. beginning in 2020. Pricing will start at $45,000.
Nissan Unveils the Extended Range Leaf +e Offering 40 Percent Longer Range
Nissan showed off the new Nissan LEAF e+ at CES this week, which boasts additional power and range. According to Nissan, the "e+" refers to the increased energy density of the new model's battery pack, despite a similar pack size as the standard LEAF, as well as the higher output of the powertrain.
The new LEAF e+ powertrain adds to the car's range by approximately 40%, ensuring that there's a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers. The LEAF's 62 kWh battery delivers a 226-mile range and produces 200 hp.
The redesigned Leaf includes advanced technologies, including Nissan's ProPILOT semi-autonomous driving system and e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving, without having to stop the car using a seperate brake pedal.
Although the LEAF e+ looks similar to standard LEAF, the LEAF e+ includes a revised front fascia with blue highlights and an "e+" logo plate on the underside of the charge port lid. Inside the cabin, a spacious, highly functional interior delivers a quality, high-tech feel, with vibrant blue contrast stitching for the steering wheel, seats and door trim.
The upgraded LEAF is scheduled to hit dealerships in the U.S. in the spring of 2019, with European sales beginning in mid-2019.
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