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The First Electric Racecar was Unveiled by NASCAR

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Hearing the boom of the engines, the rumbling as each car approaches, and the zip as it zooms past at over 150 mph are all part of the thrill of attending a NASCAR race.

In downtown Chicago on Saturday, NASCAR presented its first electric racecar; yet, when the grand marshal commands, “drivers, start your engines,” it does not roar.

The leading racing series in North America collaborated with ABB, Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota to showcase a high-performance electric car and assess fan interest in electric racing.

Riley Nelson, the head of sustainability for NASCAR, stated that they hope to show electric cars and electrification in general as hip, entertaining, and approachable in the racing world.

When Ragan first visited the racetrack at the age of eleven, he stated the sound and smell were unlike anything he had ever encountered. Tire squeals were audible to him. The brakes were smelling to him. The sound, smell, and heat from the exhaust of gasoline-powered vehicles overwhelm all other sounds. However, after countless laps, Ragan’s ears weren’t ringing this time. He described it as quite wild.

The new automobile is actually a crossover utility vehicle, not your usual sports coupe. It is aerodynamic enough to be considered a racecar thanks to a massive rear wing.

accelerateIt can stop virtually instantly and accelerate nearly twice as quickly as the fastest gas-powered racecars. However, because it is heavier, it navigates the turns more slowly, resulting in a two-tenths of a second slower lap time at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway. Ragan stated that it might run even faster because he wasn’t straining the unique car to its breaking point. He argued that taking risks is for racing, not testing.

General Motors’ chief of global motorsports competition, Eric Warren, revealed that a survey of ardent NASCAR fans revealed that over half of them would be more inclined to buy an electric car if they were introduced to it through racing. He stated that conserving and maximizing energy is a key message.

Warren declared, “We’re committed to electric vehicles.” “Racing gives a great platform to discuss a lot of those concepts and educate fans. It’s a laboratory for us to try some new technologies and learn as we educate.”

Gas burning produces carbon dioxide, which warms the environment and causes more intense weather. It also pollutes the air. Around 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are produced by burning one gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over the course of a weekend, racing activities need thousands of gallons.

More electric vehicles would undoubtedly make the event quieter, but many spectators enjoy hearing the thunderous sound of engines as the green light turns green.

As part of the unveiling before to Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series stop, a group of kids, including the offspring of ABB employees, removed the car’s cover. As he passed by Buckingham Fountain, 16-year-old Chicagoan Dean Radejewski paused to examine the vehicle.

“I think it’s pretty cool that they’re stepping into the newer age, where all the stuff’s going electric,”  Radejewski remarked. “I feel like it’s going to be maybe a bit more reliable, maybe a bit safer, too, since less fuel to light on fire.”

Additionally, Radejewski found the idea of a NASCAR EV series to be intriguing.

“It would be more racing to watch,” he remarked. “So even better,”

John Probst, senior vice president and chief racing development officer of NASCAR, stated that he believes the organization could completely change the fan experience if it decides to pursue electric racing. A DJ could be one choice.

“It’s our goal to entertain our fans,” he declared. “We know how to create a racing series around pretty much anything if our fans tell us this is what they want to see.”

Electric car racing is not a new venture for NASCAR or any other motorsports organization. Started a decade ago, Formula E is an all-electric racing championship. But compared to NASCAR, its fan base is far smaller.

The new vehicle is a component of NASCAR’s larger environmental strategy. Currently, ABB is the official electrification partner of NASCAR. It will assist NASCAR in obtaining more power from renewable resources.

Additionally, NASCAR owns 15 racetracks around the United States, several of which are located on busy roads. At such rails, ABB intends to set up its electric vehicle charging stations and link them to the power grid. They will be available for use by everyone, not just race fans, and work with standard electric vehicles.

According to NASCAR, by 2028 it would use 100% renewable electricity at its owned buildings and racetracks, recycle at every event, and deploy sustainable racing fuel. Its goal is to achieve “net zero” operating emissions by 2035.

For this reason, the black, white, and red automobile has the number 35 on it in addition to ABB. Instead of the usual carbon fiber composite, the automobile body is built of plant-based materials, specifically a flax-based composite made by the Swiss company Bcomp.

Hydrogen-powered race cars are another idea that NASCAR is researching. In 2023, NASCAR’s sports car circuit, the IMSA, made the transition to hybrid engines. This weekend in Ohio, the IndyCar race series, which is in competition, will introduce its hybrid engines. As part of revised engine regulations, Formula 1 intends to use sustainable fuel in all of its vehicles beginning in 2026.

In under four years, Ford Performance produced eight state-of-the-art electric showcase cars on its own.

“Fans want to have some connection or relationship to the racecar,”  Ford Performance Motorsports’ global director Mark Rushbrook stated. “As more and more customers are buying all-electric vehicles, there will be, we believe, a growing number of people that want to watch full electric racing.”

Initial figures released by Motorintelligence.com on Tuesday show that sales of electric vehicles in the United States increased by 7% overall in the first half of the year. 7.6% of new cars sold in the United States were electric vehicles, roughly unchanged from the previous year.

Michael Plaster, the executive vice president of ABB, thinks that children who see the new car at NASCAR events will inquire about the transition to clean electricity and perhaps pursue a career in electrical products and solutions in the future. With billions of dollars, ABB is expanding its U.S. operations.

“I can’t think of a better way to do it as far as getting interest and attention, and having the forum to talk about this whole energy transition,” Plaster remarked.

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Japan’s Inflation is Approaching US levels, Which is Difficult for Households

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In Japan, where consumers are already struggling with low incomes and are frantically trying to stretch their hard-earned yen, consumer prices are growing quickly.

Consumer prices were up 2.8% year over year in June, nearly matching the 3.0% increase in US prices.

Since the beginning of 2023, Japan’s inflation has momentarily exceeded that of the United States twice. It’s almost time to do that once more.

Speaking on the inflation rate, Jun Saito, a senior research fellow at the Japan Center for Economic Research, stated, “Inflation is around 2% to 3%, which is very high by our standards.”

The rate at which prices are rising has surprised me.

Mizuho Securities predicted a year ago that by now, inflation would be less than 2%. And at the time, it was expecting inflation to be less than 1% by year’s end.

Japan has been battling deflation for decades, but its progress has been patchy and typically more dependent on external factors; the COVID-19 aftermath contributed to the country’s most recent high of 4.3% in January 2023, at least in part.

Presently, price increases in Japan are deviating from the pattern by staying stable at the same time that inflation decreases globally. In Japan, it has been rather stable, rising from a previous low of 2.2% in January and staying at 2.8% for two consecutive months. In the United States, it has been gradually declining in recent months.

The June inflation report reveals unusual price increases for numerous household-favorite goods. Rice has increased 12.3% year over year, along with cuttlefish (8.7%), Niboshi dried tiny sardines (34.6%), milk (8.9%), potatoes (28.5%), cabbage (276.6%), and tomatoes (15.6%).

This is largely offset by the costs of other well-known goods. For the year, tofu increased by just 2.4% and natto by by 1.3%. Mayonnaise declines by 0.4%.

As earnings stagnate, citizens are starting to worry about prices.

Japan has historically had low wages. For many years, Japan has had the lowest average yearly salary among the Group of Seven major industrialized nations. The OECD reports that Japan’s average annual wage is $42,118, while the average annual wage for all member states is $55,420. Regarding average wages, Japan was placed between Poland and Italy in that class in 2023.

It’s feasible because of its low costs.

Because of its low to negative inflation rate, Japan is among the least expensive developed nations. Despite the low pay, it has also been able to maintain a high standard of living.

Elevated inflation modifies the formula.

Since the beginning of 2022, real earnings have been declining, and as buying power declines, consumers are beginning to feel the pinch.

Analysts argue that the 5.1% increase reached in the annual winter\ spring offensive salary negotiations is not very significant in the grand scheme of things because employees of smaller companies receive much less than the headline figure.

Saito stated, referring to the consumer price index, “this helped, but still the average wage relative to the CPI inflation rate is negative.”

The Bank of Japan is forced to hike rates in order to control inflation, but it must exercise caution so as not to slow down the economy and therefore undermine wage growth.

The administration needs to move cautiously as well. The yearly minimum wage debate should suggest a raise that is sufficient to maintain household stability while preventing an excessive number of small businesses from going out of business.

If the American economy works together, Japan’s pricing issues might resolve themselves. Rates may drop and the currency may appreciate versus the yen if slowing indicators in the US economy persist, relieving pressure on the central bank and containing price increases.

According to Asian Development Bank principal economist John Beirne, “a narrowing of the interest rate differentials between Japan and the United States would support the yen and alleviate the extent of imported inflation.”

As the U.S. Federal Reserve begins to reduce rates, DBS senior foreign exchange strategist Philip Wee predicted in a recent paper that the value of the yen would reach 150 by year’s end and 139 by December 2025.

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Startup in Defense Technology Saronic Announces $175 Million in Series B Funding

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The $175 million in series B funding that defense technology firm Saronic successfully raised, according to its leaders, will be crucial to the company’s ability to quickly scale up manufacturing of its three autonomous surface vessels.

According to a corporate release, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz led the investment round, with participation from other organizations including 8VC, Caffeinated Capital, Elad Gil, and NightDragon. Executives from Saronic told Breaking Defense in April that they had secured about $70 million so far, so this investment round has raised more than twice as much as the last one.

chief executive of Saronic, Dino Mavrookas, told reporters today, “What we’re doing now is really focusing on building the thousands.” “That manufacturing plant needs to be scaled.” The system is built by the system itself. It’s setting the stage for quick scale.

The Austin, Texas-based company is principally involved in the design and construction of autonomous surface vessels. It presently manufactures two models: the 6-foot Corsair and the 14-foot Cutlass, and it is working on a 24-foot version of the Spyglass. As Saronic puts it, the ASVs essentially meet the requirements that US Navy officials have stated are essential to constructing the future hybrid fleet: unmanned and autonomous ships with open systems architecture that can carry a wide variety of payloads depending on the mission.

Mavrookas’ emphasis on quickly scaling up production aligns with the objectives of Replicator, the Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks project that mandates the Pentagon produce thousands of unmanned systems in less than two years to confront China. (When asked if it had discussed Replicator with the Defense Department, Saronic deferred to the Pentagon.)

In the same conference call, Saronic co-founder Rob Lehman told reporters that the company’s participation in Integrated Battle Problem 24.1, a major military exercise used by the Navy to evaluate unmanned systems, was a “coming out party for Saronic.”

“We went to San Diego and brought more boats than folks expected us to bring. And, frankly, we participated in more vignettes and parts of the exercise than were even planned,” the speaker admitted. “Post-Integrated Battle Problem, frankly, the demand signal has accelerated for the exercises, demonstrations, etc. throughout the rest of [2024] and [2025] as well.”

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AUDI INTRODUCES NEW A5 MODELS

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Audi has unveiled the most recent iteration of its A5 model series, which represents a substantial advancement in the mid-size market. The A5 Avant, A5 Sedan, S5 Sedan, and the remarkable S5 Sedan are all members of the new family and all feature cutting-edge design and cutting-edge technology.

The A5 family’s flagship model is expected to be the S5 Avant. With the help of the latest MHEV plus technology, its powerful 3L V6 TFSI engine produces 367 horsepower. This mild-hybrid technology guarantees lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy in addition to enhancing performance. A dramatic roofline and a smoothly integrated roof spoiler, which offer both visual appeal and aerodynamic efficiency, accentuate the athletic design of the S5 Avant.

The new models’ blend of sportiness and technical innovation was highlighted by Audi CEO Gernot Döllner, who said, “The new A5 shines with its sporty design, new interior, and modern electronic architecture. It also marks the launch of our new generation of efficient combustion engines.”

Built on Audi’s Premium Platform Combustion (PPC), the new A5 has a sleek, modern look across all four models. The Avant models combine a wide roofline with a roomy, practical rear, while the A5 and S5 sedans have a long wheelbase and a low, athletic body.

The new A5 models have an updated interior that emphasizes user engagement. The Audi MMI panoramic display, which consists of a 14.5-inch touch screen and an 11.9-inch virtual cockpit, dominates the digital stage. A 10.9-inch front passenger display and a head-up display that may be customized are examples of optional equipment.

Orders for the new Audi A5 family will mainly be accepted in Germany, with a wider market launch scheduled for November. The starting entry price for the new model range is planned to be €45,200 EUR, or around $50,000 USD.

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