Today’s In The News section brings you the latest automotive news from around the world. You’ll read about China’s latest effort to encourage car imports, the opening of a new Volkswagen production plant in Northern China and a cheaper, more long-lasting battery that could transform the electric vehicle industry.
GM to Adopt Android system in 2016
Harman International, a producer of in-car electronics, said it won a $900 million contract from GM in 2012 to supply a next-generation infotainment system. Harman’s system will be based on Android, and is scheduled to launch in GM vehicles in late 2016. “This next-generation infotainment solution will enable an app store, which allows this infotainment system to stay technologically relevant over the life cycle of the vehicle,” said Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal. “Apps will be developed by General Motors, Harman and a bunch of other third parties, not just Google and Apple.” (Crain’s Detroit Business)
China to Ease Restrictions on Car Imports in Shanghai
China has said it will speed up the preparation of a trial program aimed at introducing parallel car imports in Shanghai’s free-trade zone. Under the trial, foreign cars would be imported to China without using a brand’s distribution network, which should lead to better pricing in the world’s biggest vehicle market. The government is reportedly considering to ease restriction on car dealership networks, allowing them to showcase multiple brands in the same store and import cars without the carmaker’s authorization. (Bloomberg)
Volkswagen Opens New Plant in Northern China
Volkswagen said it has started production of the latest generation of dual-clutch gearboxes (DSG) at its new components plant in Tianjin, China. The plant, built with an investment of $265 million in the first phase, will have an initial production capacity of 450,000 units annually and will be increased to 1.2 million units by 2016. Volkswagen said it will manufacture DQ380 gearbox designed especially for the Chinese market for the first time at this plant. By 2019, the company aims to create about 5,500 new jobs in the region. (ETAuto.com)
Will A New “Killer Battery” Transform Electric Cars?
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said they have developed an affordable lithium ion battery that could triple the driving range of electric cars. Dr. Qichao Hu, the developer of the device, said the battery can also double the running life of a smartphone or a laptop. Hu, who worked on the device with Donald Sadoway, a battery expert at MIT, said the new battery operates safely at a wide range of temperatures, which should save costs. The battery itself will be about 20 percent cheaper than existing ones. Hu hopes the battery will be in production for consumer electronics in the first half of 2016 and in electric cars by the second half of that year. (ETAuto.com)
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