Sunday, July 26, 2009

2010 Fiat 500C To Get Abarth Variant: Report


THE ABARTH NAME is set to adorn the convertible version of the Fiat 500, according to British automotive publication Autocar.

The 2010 Fiat 500C, due to arrive in Australian showrooms around the middle of next year, is expected to be available in both Abarth and Abarth Esse Esse (read ‘SS’) form, developing 99kW and 117kW via the same 1.4 litre Turbojet petrol engine that powers the Fiat 500 Abarth.

According to the report, a Fiat source said that production of the 500C Abarth is “very likely”.


Like the hardtop versions, both performance 500C Abarth models will be available with a range of customisation options, along with the standard additions found on the 500 Abarth and Abarth Esse Esse.

Despite the Fiat 500C’s expected debut in Australia next year, the delay of the Fiat 500 Abarth for the local market means that a similar delay will be likely for the hardcore version of the 500C.

With the 500C Abarth not expected to arrive in Europe until the middle of next year, it could be the same time in 2011 before Australian Fiat fans see it at their local dealer.

Nissan Develops Cornering Assistance System


NISSAN HAS ANNOUNCED that the next generation Nissan Fuga will debut a suite of newly-developed driver assistance technologies, including two systems that help drivers take high-speed corners more safely.

The Navigation-Cooperative Intelligent Pedal works in tandem with the car’s onboard GPS navigation and analyses map data to determine when a curve is being approached too quickly. When the car’s speed is too great, the system moves the accelerator upwards to prompt the driver to remove their foot from the pedal.

When no pressure is being applied to the accelerator, the system then slows the car down to a speed that it determines as being safe for the upcoming corner.


Active Stability Assist is the other component of Nissan’s handling-augmenting safety package and works by reading driver inputs to the steering, brakes and accelerator and modulating braking force and power delivery to suit.

Although it operates in a similar way to most modern stability control systems, Active Stability Assist is different in its ability to anticipate driver demands and modify the car’s behaviour to maximise performance, rather than just keep the car on the tarmac.

Both technologies will feature on the next-generation Nissan Fuga sedan, which is due to be revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show this October.


Although the Fuga won’t be coming to Australia, its Infiniti-badged equivalent - the Infiniti M - might be headed here.

Nissan Australia has made no secret of its intention to bring the Infiniti brand back to our shores, and when it does, it’ll be bringing a full range of Infiniti’s RWD and AWD line-up with it.

Melbourne And St Kilda Top Victoria’s Drink Driving List

Photo: Chris Keating.

Photo: Chris Keating.

FOLLOWING LAST WEEK’S Operation Ardent road safety blitz, Victoria Police has released a report showing that inner Melbourne and the State’s larger regional centres are Victoria’s hot spots for drink driving.

The report, which lists the worst-offending suburbs and the number of drink drivers nabbed in each, showed Melbourne, with 469, and St Kilda, with 425 drink driving offenders caught this year, as top of the list.

Inspector for Road Policing Dennis Watson acknowledged that, with the highest concentration of licensed venues in Victoria, it was little surprise to see Melbourne and St Kilda top the list.

“While the list does not indicate where the driver was drinking, it’s safe to say many of the drunk drivers caught in Melbourne and St Kilda would have been drinking nearby,” Mr Watson said.

Regional centres filling out the top 10 included Ballarat (317), Shepparton (238), Mildura (217) and Warrnambool (188), while Melbourne’s satellite cities Frankston (226) and Dandenong (185) also figured prominently.

Senior Sergeant Patrick Cleary from the Ballarat TMU said the region’s police officers were working to demonstrate that the idea that regional towns are easy places to get away with drink-driving “is nonsense”.

“We know the local roads like the back of our hand. Drunk drivers who think they can take the rat-run of back streets to avoid booze buses will be caught by chase cars,” he said.

“There’s no hiding, especially in regional centres when the police have an intricate knowledge of the road network.”

“Country police can easily spot a car from out-of-town and almost have a sixth-sense when it comes to pulling over the drunk drivers.”

“I’m disappointed that more than 300 drivers lost their licences driving drunk in Ballarat,” Snr Sgt Cleary said.

The three-day Operation Ardent blitz saw more than 650 motorists caught for various traffic offences, with 54 nabbed for drink driving, and 41 for speeding more than 25km/h over the posted limit.

Victoria Police took to the internet during the blitz, using social networking website Twitter to broadcast the misdeeds of offenders caught during the operation.

Nissan Zero Emission EV To Be Revealed August 2nd, EV-IT Data Service To Assist Owners


YOKOSUKA, JAPAN, played host today to a special preview of Nissan’s upcoming - and as yet unnamed - electric vehicle (EV) platform.

Using a Tiida-based prototype during the development stages, Nissan confirmed today that the EV’s exterior styling will be revealed during the opening of the company’s Yokohama headquarters on August 2.

Sales of Nissan’s electric vehicle are due to begin in Japan and the US in 2010. Nissan Australia’s Jeff Fisher confirmed to TMR that the EV will reach Australian showrooms by 2012, when the car is due for global mass production.


“Yes, it’s part of our product plan. It will be available next year in the US and we expect it to have it here in 2012,” Mr Fisher said.

“The first car will be a five-seater family hatch, with small crossovers and commercials to follow. A concept version will be unveiled in the US in August this year.”

Nissan’s EV, like the EV-02 prototype and the EV-11 Tiida-based prototype shown today, will use a 24kWh ‘laminated lithium ion’ battery system, developed by Nissan in partnership with semiconductor manufacturer, NEC.


While half the size and weight of a conventional lithium ion battery, Nissan claims it will supply enough power to the electric motor to produce 80kW and 280Nm of torque.

Combined with the battery system, the regenerative braking system and a body designed for optimised underfloor air-flow, Nissan says its EV will offer a total driving range of 160km between charges.

To assist owners of the upcoming Zero Emission EV, Nissan has developed a global data centre which the vehicle will be able to connect to, providing 24 hour, seven day support and displaying vital data such as a Maximum Range display and updates on the location and status of charging points.


The Maximum Range function will display the driving radius within range under the EV’s current state of charge, offering real-time updates. It will also calculate if the vehicle is within range of a pre-set destination.

Nissan promises that the EV revealed in early August will show off an all-new design, unique to its Zero Emission program.

A new Zero Emission website has been developed to accompany the launch - - which will be available from August 2nd.