Can We Have Safer Car Designs With This New Material?

Can We Have Safer Car Designs With This New Material?

In a new paper published in ‘Materials & Design’, an engineering team from the University of Glasgow engineers have developed a new metamaterial, which is capable of higher impact resistance than its counterparts. But despite being lightweight, how is it able to integrate safety during car crashes?

Crux of the Matter

What Is The Material?
3-D-printed material, which is made by combining commonly-used plastics with carbon nanotubes. This makes it tougher and lighter than similar forms of aluminium.

So This Is A Metamaterial?
Yes. Metamaterials are artificially-created, to manifest properties which do not occur in the natural world. Eg: plate-lattices

How Are Plate-lattices Light?
They are cubic structures made from intersecting layers of plates, which have high stiffness and strength, despite having space between them. These spaces called porosity, make the plate-lattices lightweight.

Impact Resistance Offered?
Those designs were then subjected to a series of impact tests. Eg: Dropping a 16.7kg mass from a range of heights to determine their ability to withstand physical shocks.

What Were The Results?
Using specific energy absorption that determines a material’s ability to absorb energy relative to its mass, the polypropylene hybrid plate-lattice was found to withstand 19.9 joules per gram.

Would The Plastic Used Be Recyclable?
Yes, as per Dr. Shanmugam Kumar, Reader in Composites and Additive Manufacturing. “In a net-zero world, circular economic models will be central to making the planet more sustainable.”

Intersection of M&M
This output of Mechanics and materials can help develop safer, lighter and more durable structures for use in the automotive, aerospace, renewables and marine industries.

  • The Hall–Héroult process is the major industrial process for smelting aluminium. Aluminium became much more available to the public with the Hall–Héroult process developed in 1886, and the mass production of aluminium led to its extensive use in industry and everyday life.
  • The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company.

Maruti Suzuki Now Enters Into Car Leasing

In order to find newer ways to attract buyers and recover from the current slowdown, Maruti Suzuki will venture into car leasing and fleet management service to offer all-inclusive services like vehicle acquisition, insurance, maintenance and value-added services.

Crux of the Matter

After a 3-month lockdown, Maruti Suzuki India which had recorded zero sales in April has resumed its manufacturing operations from May 12. As the economic activities resume and come back on track, the car manufacturer recorded domestic sales of 51,274 units in June 2020 which is a 54% drop in sales volume compared to June 2019.

Car Leasing – A New Business Model
Maruti Suzuki has tied up with ORIX Auto Infrastructure Services Limited, Japan to introduce #MarutiSuzukiSubscribe vehicle lease subscription service in the Indian market. The company in the initial phase will offer cars like Swift, Dzire, Vitara Brezza and Ertiga, Baleno, and Ciaz for subscription as a pilot project in Gurugram and Bengaluru. All the cars leased will be brand new.

Key Features Of The Service
Maruti Suzuki Subscribe will allow individual car buyers to choose from a variety of Maruti Suzuki cars with flexible lease tenure options of 24, 36, and 48 months. Once you decide the tenure, you pay the pre-determined monthly amount with no additional maintenance, service costs, or down payment required. There are two categories of subscription: Corporate Leasing and Retail Leasing.

How To Avail The Service?
The customer has to fill up an application form with the choice of vehicle and once the application is approved, the vehicle is made available within 15 days of the booking. The lease amount will be determined on the basis of documents submitted for credit appraisal. Before the delivery, an agreement is signed and all necessary documentation formalities will be completed. After the delivery, all post-sales operations like maintenance, service, insurance claims will be taken care of by the leasing partner, Orix

Customers also get access to 24×7 roadside assistance with their monthly payment and the company has also provided an option to extend the lease tenure if required. There is a lock-in period depending upon the tenure while leasing cars and if you wish to return the car before the lock-in period is over, you will have to pay for the remaining months of the period and additional 1-3 months’ cost.

Existing Players in the Market
Vehicle leasing services are popular in the US and Europe markets whereas, in India, its penetration is less than 1% of the total volume. Maruti’s rival Hyundai Motor India already offers leasing services in collaboration with ALD Automotive India.

Even Mahindra has rolled out a subscription-based passenger car ownership model in partnership with Revv which is a startup that operating in the car-sharing sector. China based SAIC-owned MG Motor India and Volkswagen also offer subscription services allowing customers to lease all BS6-compliant cars with a minimum lock-in period of 2-4 years.

Experts believe that the vehicle subscription model has immense possibilities in the India market as it will provide an alternative to owning a car and it will fulfil the need gap of the requirement of cars for any kind of individual and business applications.

  • A novated lease is a motor vehicle lease that has been novated, that is, the obligations in the contract have been transferred from one party to another. A lease is novated with a three-way agreement between the lessee, the lessor, and a third party.
  • Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese multinational corporation. In 2016, Suzuki was the eleventh biggest automaker by production worldwide and Suzuki’s domestic motorcycle sales volume is the third-largest in Japan.
  • The Maruti Omni was a microvan manufactured by Maruti Suzuki. Sold simply as the Maruti Van, this was the second vehicle to be launched by Maruti Suzuki. In April 2019, Suzuki announced they would discontinue the Omni after 35 years of production.

Cars, Coronavirus and China

Cars, Coronavirus and China

Indian automobile sector had been facing a slump before Coronavirus made matters worse. Just when automobiles saw signs of improvements after no or very less cars were sold during Covid-19 lockdown, the current Indo-China face-off has created anti-China sentiments. It must be noted that Indian automobile sector relies heavily on China for a range of components.

Crux of the Matter

Automobile Sector in India
The automobile sector in India is very important as it contributes around 7.5% to India’s GDP and 49% to the manufacturing sector. Moreover, it employs around 1 crore people in India. However, the sector is facing a crisis since last year. In August 2019, sales of passenger vehicles fell by 31.57% and passenger cars declined by almost 36%. Last fiscal, the automobile sector performed the worst in the last 22 years. Approximately 2-3 lakh job losses were registered and some companies even declared production holiday. Maruti Suzuki declared that it sold 0 cars in April.

What Could Be The Possible Reasons?
In the 2018 Sep-Dec quarter, companies had reportedly produced excessive stock anticipating heavy sales in the coming festival season. Moreover, SC’s decision to stop sales of BS4 models of the vehicle from 1st April 2020 has resulted in fewer sales of BS4 models and piling up of stock in the companies. High prices of BS6 models soured the sector’s revival hopes. The economic slowdown and fall of GDP to 5% in 2019 April-June could also be attributed to the weak performance over and above the gradual shift in demand toward car-pooling or electric cars due to environmental concerns. In addition, there was a liquidity crunch in the market caused by NBFCs, which resulted in the postponement of the customers’ decision to buy cars as NBFCs account for 1/3rd of credit sales of automobiles in rural areas and tier 3 cities. 

Impact of Covid

  • Disruption in demand and supply in the market
  • People not buying cars due to cash crunch
  • High prices of BS6 Models
  • Companies’ production lines halted due to cut in the supply of components
  • Several other sectors on which automobiles are dependent facing a slow recovery

Chinese Factor
China is one of the leading manufacturers of automobiles and its components. India is dependent on China for importing driving transmission, steering wheel, and electrical, interior and engine components. In coming times of electric cars era, dependency on China may continue as Chinese companies have leverage over producing lithium batteries.

  • Faraday Future is a technology company focused on the development of electric vehicles; It was founded by Chinese businessman Jia Yueting in 2014. Yueting also founded LeEco, a chinese video streaming and cloud service provider.
  • Maruti Udyog Limited was founded by the Government of India in 1981, only to merge with the Japanese automobile company Suzuki in October 1982. The company is headquartered at New Delhi & in May 2015 it produced its fifteen millionth vehicle in India.
  • Tesla Giga Shanghai is a factory in Shanghai, China operated by Tesla, Inc. The Shanghai regional government approved the agreement to build the production facility in July 2018, and a long-term lease was signed for about 86 hectares (210 acres) of land in October 2018. The plant began initial production of Tesla Model 3 cars in October 2019.

APAC Autos Face Tough Environment; Supported by Financial Profiles

Fitch Ratings expect limited rating movement for the automotive manufacturers in 2020 as most entities in their portfolio are on a stable outlook. However Fitch have a Negative Outlook on Tata Motors Limited (TML, BB-/Negative) due to rising business risks in both its Indian operations and fully owned UK subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover plc (JLR, BB-/Negative). The portfolio is largely investment grade, with all ratings but TML in the high ‘BBB’ or ‘A’ categories.

Crux of the Matter
  • Regarding 2020 Outlook for the Asia-Pacific Automotive Manufacturers, Fitch Ratings expects weaker global demand and rising investment to continue to put pressure on Asia-Pacific (APAC) automotive manufacturers’ profitability and cash flow generation in 2020.
  • Sales in the US and Europe are likely to post negative growth, but it is expected that Chinese sales would recover modestly after two consecutive years of decline.
  • Automakers are also accelerating investments in clean-energy vehicles, new technology and mobility trends.
  • Lingering uncertainties over trade issues, such as US-China tensions and potential US tariffs on car imports, are factors to watch. However, Fitch’s stable outlook on the automobile sector takes into consideration the robust financial profiles of major automakers, which should provide a sufficient buffer and flexibility to cope with those challenges.

Fitch Ratings Inc. is an American credit rating agency and is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies”, the other two being Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. It is one of the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSRO) designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1975. Fitch Ratings is dual headquartered in New York and London. Hearst owns 100 percent of the company following its acquisition of an additional 20 percent for $2.8 billion on April 12, 2018. More Info

Tesla’s Newly Launched ‘Cybertruck’ Gets Historic Bookings

At the launch event in California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had announced the industrial-looking vehicle, Cybertruck made up of stainless steel alloy which is capable to go from 0 to 100km/h in about three seconds has got record bookings of up to nearly 2, 00,000.

Crux of the Matter
  • 42% have ordered the dual-motor option whose price starts at $49,900, 41% have ordered the $69,900 triple-motor option and 17% ordered the single-motor version which starts at $39,900.
  • Tesla’s website allows customers to order the truck for a fully refundable amount of $100. The Production of Triple-motor variant is expected to begin in late 2022.
  • Tesla faced a lot of criticism at the launch event when the windows of the Cybertruck shattered during a demonstration supposed to show their durability.
  • No official date has been given for the vehicle’s release, but it is expected to be ready by end of 2021.

Tesla, Inc. is an American automotive and energy company based in Palo Alto, California founded in 2003. The company specializes in electric car manufacturing. It operates multiple production and assembly plants, such as Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada, and its main vehicle manufacturing facility at Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. After 10 years in the market, Tesla has ranked as the world’s best selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer in 2018, both as a brand and by automotive group, with 245,240 units delivered and a market share of 12% of the plug-in segment sale. More Info